This braised Cabbage with Anchovy Butter, Tahini, Hazelnuts & Herb & Caper Salad is a showstopper dish that’s as delicious as it is impressive. It’s hearty enough to be served as a main course or as a side dish alongside your favourite protein.
What You Need for this Braised Cabbage
- Green Cabbage: You can use just about any variety of cabbage you like for this recipe, but I personally think that regular ol’ green cabbage works best here. The leaves get super tender and juicy without breaking down to a mushy consistency. The next best option would be to use a savoy cabbage which presents beautifully, but has a slightly leafier, stringy texture.
- Compound Butter: A great way to impart a lot flavour into the braised cabbage is to add some compound butter. You can take this in so many different directions with an endless amount of flavour combinations. This time, I combined softened butter with finely chopped anchovy filets and lemon zest. Not to worry, the anchovies don’t make the cabbage taste fishy. Instead, they add a tremendous amount of salty, briny, umami flavour that has much more depth than regular salt.
- Broth: To help tenderize the cabbage and add even more flavour, braise it in a high-quality broth. You can use vegetable broth to keep this dish vegetarian, or use chicken broth for a bit more flavour. I used the latter because it’s what I had on hand.
- Citrus: You’ll need the zest and juice of 1 lemon. Some of the zest will be used to make the compound butter. Some of the juice will go into making the tahini sauce. And the rest of it all will go into the parsley and caper salad. That’s one lemon, used 3 ways.
- Fresh Herbs: A combination of flat leaf parsley and dill adds a beautiful pop of colour and a delicious, bitter flavour that helps balance the sweetness from the cabbage. Instead of just finely chopping them and using them as a decorative garnish, try taking the time to peel off the leaves and toss them with some lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, and capers to make an herby salad.
- Capers: I like to add something salty and juicy, like some capers packed in brine. They’re bright, acidic, and are another balancing flavour that cuts through the sweetness of the cabbage. If you don’t have capers, you can substitute roughly torn or sliced green olives.
- Tahini: The braised cabbage rests on a bed of delicious tahini sauce. It’s flavourful, creamy and the perfect condiment to mop up with the cabbage. It’s also one of the easiest sauces you could ever hope to make.
- Chili Flakes: For a little bit of spice, try sprinkling some chili flakes overtop of the finished cabbage. I used Aleppo peppers, which aren’t overwhelmingly spicy and have a slight sweetness to them, but you can use just about any kind of chili flake you like.
How to Make Braised Cabbage
- Make the Tahini: In a bowl, whisk together the tahini ingredients to make a flavourful sauce for the cabbage. You can also do this in a food processor but I recommend making clean up easier by doing it in a bowl by hand.
- Make the Herb & Caper Salad: This super simple garnish takes only a couple minutes to make and can be done slightly ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to serve.
- Preheat Traeger to 425F: You can finish the braised cabbage in the oven (time and temperatures stay the same), but you can’t compare it to the wood-fired flavour you get from making it on a Traeger. The cabbage and broth absorb some of the smoke and take the dish to another level.
- Slice the Cabbage: Slice the cabbage into equal-sized wedges. Make sure to slice through the core each time to help hold the leaves together as the cook. I recommend using a small cabbage because it will be easier to fit it all into a single, 12″ oven-safe pan.
- Sear the Cabbage: Preheat some neutral-flavoured, high smoke point oil, such as avocado oil, in a pan. Make sure the cabbage wedges are completely dry to avoid splatter and sear them in the oil until charred and deep brown in colour.
- Add the Liquid: Add the butter and let it melt down. Then add the broth and bring it to a simmer.
- Transfer to Traeger: Transfer the pan to your preheated Traeger or oven and braise the cabbage until the leaves are fork-tender, but not mushy, and the broth has reduced by around 3/4 in volume.
- Plate it: Grab a large platter and spread a generous amount of tahini across the bottom. Arrange the cabbage wedges overtop, drizzle with any reserved broth, garnish with Aleppo pepper, chopped hazelnuts, and the herb & caper salad.
- Green Cabbage – substitute savoy
- Chicken Broth – substitute vegetable broth
- Butter – substitute ghee
- Hazelnuts – substitute slivered almonds
- Aleppo pepper – substitute crushed red pepper flakes
- Capers – substitute pitted and sliced green olives
- Anchovy filets – omit if not desired
Braised Cabbage with Anchovy Butter, Tahini and Herb & Caper Salad
For the Tahini:
- ½ cup 100% pure toasted sesame seed paste tahini
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped or grated
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup ice cold water plus more or less as needed
For the Herb & Caper Salad:
- ¼ cup loosely packed roughly torn fresh parsley leaves
- ¼ cup loosely packed roughly torn fresh dill leaves
- 2 heaping tablespoons brined capers drained
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
For the Braised Cabbage:
- ¼ cup raw unsalted hazelnuts, substitute slivered almonds
- 2 tablespoons room-temperature unsalted butter
- 3 anchovy filets packed in olive oil finely chopped
- Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 small head green cabbage
- 1 cup chicken broth substitute vegetable broth for vegetarian
- Kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried Aleppo pepper substitute crushed red pepper flakes or any dried chili of choice
For the Tahini:
- In a bowl, combine the sesame seed paste, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Whisk until combined and a paste forms. While continuously whisking, slowly pour in the water a little bit at a time until the sauce is smooth and can coats the back of a spoon. If your tahini sauce is too thick, add a bit more water. If it’s too runny, add a bit more sesame seed paste. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt as needed. Cover and set aside until ready to serve.
For the Herb & Caper Salad:
- In a small bowl, combine the parsley, dill, capers, olive oil, lemon zest and lemon juice. Toss everything to coat, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
For the Braised Cabbage:
- Preheat Traeger Grill or oven to 425F.
- Add the hazelnuts to a dry pan and place over medium-low heat. Toast the nuts, stirring regularly, until fragrant and the skins are slightly browned, 8-10 minutes. Transfer the toasted nuts to a clean kitchen towel, fold over the edges and gently rub between your hands to release the skins. Roughly chop the peeled and toasted nuts and transfer them to a bowl. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the butter, anchovies, lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir well to combine and set aside.
- Peel off the outer leaves of the cabbage and trim the stem. Slice the cabbage in half, then slice each half into 3 to 4 wedges, depending on the size of your cabbage, making sure to slice through the core each time.
- Preheat a large, oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. Add the avocado oil and heat until shimmering. Add the cabbage wedges and cook, undisturbed, until charred and deep brown in colour, around 5 minutes. Flip the cabbage wedges and cook, undisturbed, until charred and deep brown in colour, around 5 minutes. Add the anchovy butter and let melt. Add the chicken broth and stir to combine. Transfer the pan to the Traeger Grill or oven and cook until the cabbage is fork-tender and the broth has reduced by ¾ in volume, around 20 minutes.
- Spread the tahini across the bottom of a serving platter, arrange the cabbage wedges overtop and drizzle with any reserved broth. Garnish with Aleppo pepper, chopped hazelnuts, and the herb & caper salad. Serve immediately.