Hispi Cabbage. It's the bees knees. Honest!
Hispi cabbage, also called Sweetheart or pointed cabbage is bang on trend. And it's a great start to bringing cabbage into the forefront of sexy cuisine. Featuring recently in Thomasina Mier's new book and Wahaca's new menu, this cabbage is sturdy and delicious enough to do some great things with.
We know that seasonal, green, fresh vegetables are as healthy as you can get, but in terms of nutritional value, cabbages are the best of the best, so it's well worth trying to squeeze more of these vegetables into your weekly dishes.
Traditionally this is a great variety to use as plain steamed cabbage, but if you're after more interesting things to do with it, you can leave the leaves whole for tortillas, you can chop it for stir fries, you can shred it for slaws, you can finely finely shred it for seaweed, or, yes you can even blend it into smoothies.
The wonder of this cabbage is that it doesn't have the acidic flavour you may associate with old school cabbage. It is instead fresh, nutty, sweet and umami all in one. And this more subtle flavour means it can be used to carry other flavours very well.
And the delight of it's shape and size is that it offers more cooking versatility. You can for example, use it for a BBQ, oven cooking or grilling, The structure and space between the leaves allows for cooking AND moisture release... which means no sogginess!
I could keep talking about cabbage, but instead I'll share this recipe as inspired by the aforementioned Thomasina Miers in the Guardian. It's delicious, easy and showcases this stunning leafy goddess.
Chargrilled Hispi Cabbage with Noodles & Miso
1. Turn on your grill to it's highest setting, and put your main oven on at around 180C.
2. Remove the outer leaves to the food waste or compost heap, and slice off any excess stalk at the the base of the cabbage, making sure to keep all the remaining leaves attached.
3. From top to bottom, with a sharp knife, half, quarter and then cut the cabbage into eighths. The wedges should look very pretty! Give them a quick run under the tap to clean, being careful not to detach the leaves. At this point you may also want to slice a little of the central core if there are any particularly large chunks.
4. Brush each wedge with oil, season and place under the hot grill. As one side starts to curl and brown, turn the wedges over to get the same effect on the other side. Once you have a chargrilled finish on both sides, move them from the grill to the oven and allow them to roast for around 15minutes. This means you get a great chargrilled flavour, whilst also making sure the thicker central leaves cook and soften.
5. Whilst your hispi in finishing in the oven, stir fry some noodles with spring onion and sesame seeds, (and chilli and garlic if you fancy.)
6. At the same time, heat and mix some miso paste and butter or oil in a small saucepan. You want to achieve a nice smooth running dressing, so add oil until you are happy.
7. Then it's just a matter of assembly. You can chop the cabbage, or serve as big wedges on your noodles, pouring over the miso dressing, and sprinkle with some microgreens or chopped roasted nuts.