This rich, warming dish – a sort of cabbage, onion and stale bread gratin – is inspired by a recipe from San Francisco's Zuni Cafe. It's a rare exception to the rule of cooking cabbage only briefly. It uses very humble ingredients to produce a sumptuous result. Serves six.
- 8 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 onions, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- salt and pepper
- 1 green cabbage, tough bits removed, leaves cut into 1 cm strips
- 300g bread, slightly stale, robust variety, sourdough works well, cut into 2cm cubes
- 175g gruyere or other well-flavoured cheese
- 500ml vegetable stock
- Heat half the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the sliced onions and stir well to break up the rings. Once they are sizzling, turn the heat down to very low and cover the pan. Cook gently stirring from time to time, for about half an hour, or until very soft and golden. Add the chopped garlic and some salt and pepper about halfway through the cooking.
- Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Meanwhile put the cabbage in a steamer and cook for about four minutes, until tender but not too soft. You can also cook it in boiling water, but make sure you drain it really well, you don't want to add cabbage water to the dish.
- Put the cubed bread into a large bowl. Add the remaining oil and some salt and pepper. Toss well to coat the cubes with oil and seasoning.
- Using a large, wide shallow oven dish about 20cm x 30cm, spread one third of the cooked onions over the base, then scatter over one third of the bread cubes followed by one third of the cheese. Scatter over half of the cabbage. Repeat these layers, then finish with the final onions, bread and cheese.
- Make sure your stock is piping hot. Pour it all over the dish, allowing it to soak in the bread. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 30 more minutes until golden brown and bubbling. Remove from the oven and let it settle for about 10 minutes, then serve.