Around here a couple of cooler days briefly interrupted the late summer heat and jolted my appetite for fall food. While it may not be time for sauerbraten just yet, some fall-inspired side dishes are the perfect way to preview the upcoming season and squash the end of summer blues. After finding some beautiful red cabbage at the market, I decided to pair it with vidalia onion and some incredible, creamy blue cheese as my own personal welcome to the coming autumn.
Roasting red cabbage makes it tender while preserving some of its crispness. When paired with vidalia onion, the flavor of the cabbage plays off the onion’s sweetness. The combination is earthy and goes well with pork or meat dishes, especially when topped with blue cheese. For this recipe I use Saint Agur, which is a highly spreadable, buttery cheese that is not very salty. It lends all the richness of blue cheese while being creamy enough to melt perfectly into the ribbons of red cabbage.
Medium head of red cabbage
½ vidalia onion
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ lb. Saint Agur or another soft, creamy, spreadable blue cheese
½ teaspoon caraway seeds
½ teaspoon marjoram
Salt and pepper to taste
This recipe has great visual appeal even while it is being prepared. Your cutting board will be filled with gorgeous, ribbony rounds of the reddish purple cabbage, and when it comes time to add the blue cheese you will discover its characteristic deep veining.
Begin by preheating the oven to 450 degrees. Prepare a 9 by 13 inch baking rectangular dish by brushing the bottom and sides with one tablespoon of the olive oil.
Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage, and slice it into ½ inch thick rounds. Next cut the onion into thick, vertical slices. Set one of the cabbage rounds aside, and begin arranging the others in an even layer in the baking dish. You will only be able to fit a few without overlapping them. Cut the remaining rounds in a half moon shape, and fill the empty spaces. Top the cabbage with a layer of the onions, tucking slices between the cabbage pieces as well. Brush all of the vegetables in the dish with olive oil. Top with the reserved round and add to this layer any ribbons of cabbage that are left. Brush this layer with olive oil as well.
Sprinkle the marjoram, caraway seeds, and salt and pepper over the vegetables. Top with small pieces of the blue cheese and bake for 40 minutes.
While the cabbage is roasting, you will be able to smell why this is a great side dish for pork and other meats. Caraway alone is a delicious and strong scent, with a flavor to match. With the sweetness of onion and the buttery richness of the blue cheese, cabbage never tasted so good.