Bacon Roasted Cabbage with Blue Cheese & Pomegranate Molasses
Back at it you guys. It's more bearable with bacon, right? That's what I thought. So here you go. We're a few days in so hopefully you're already into the swing of things after the long weekend. What'd you do? I made an ultra last minute decision to join some friends in Tahoe and I'm so glad I did. Do you ever get those weird slightly fearful side sub-thoughts right in the middle of something when you remember that there was a moment that you very nearly said no to whatever incredible, wonderful thing you're now (thankfully) currently experiencing? I felt that way the moment we laid our towels out. I thought, "Gosh...I seriously almost said no to this. I can't even remember why. Shhh. You're here. Don't think about it." There are few things better than a day at the beach in a new vintage swimsuit and a wide-brimmed sunhat with a bag of snacks, cold drinks, sweet friends, and endless sunshine. Especially over a long holiday weekend. No laptop, limited cell service, and absolutely zero agenda. Currently sunburned in all the wrong places but it was worth it.
And now, alas, back to life, back to reality. One of the sneaky benefits of a long weekend is that Friday isn't far off, right? In any case I figured we could ease back into adulting with some sustenance that delivers maximum flavor and minimal effort. I realize I've been chucking some pretty lofty and likely unattainable ingredients at you lately, these beautiful baby savoy cabbages included. Like I'm sure after that last post you guys were all like, "Bergamot? b$%#, please." Fair. They're all lucky one-off farmer's market finds for sure. There's a limited window of availability, even over here in the Neverland of edible delight (i.e. San Francisco) and they get snatched up quickly. So don't worry if you can't find them. For these little guys, brussels sprouts are an easy, always available, and equally bacon-loving substitute. And just in case you needed one, fresh basil will substitute beautifully for that bergamot here.
This coming weekend will be less beach and more boxing, actually, with a black-tie fundraising fight night on Saturday. Really, any excuse to get dressed up from head-to-toe in sequins and sparkles is a good one but this night is extra special. Hoping this sunburn fades fast. Will admittedly be laying off the bacon for a few days until I'm in and out of the very unforgiving dress hanging in my closet but if stretchy fabric is not in your immediate future you should definitely, definitely do. I should probably be equally enthusiastic about every recipe I post but I'm seriously IN LOVE with this one. It's the quickest, easiest one-pan-wonder ever. Roasting the cabbage on the same sheet after the bacon comes out carries the bacon flavor even further. And I can't imagine any of you are really opposed to that.
One quick bit about pomegranate molasses: it isn't nearly as esoteric as it sounds, I promise. It's a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern Cuisine made by reducing sweet, tart pomegranate juice to a thick, molasses-like syrup and it cuts the richness of the bacon and the blue cheese in this dish beautifully. You can easily find it at both standard and specialty grocery stores.
Bacon Roasted Cabbage with Blue Cheese and Pomegranate Molasses
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/2 lb bacon
1 lb baby cabbage, quartered lengthwise or brussels sprouts, halved
Sea salt and fresh black pepper
1/2 cup blue cheese (I used a goat's milk variety), crumbled
1/3 cup pomegranate molasses
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the walnuts on a baking tray and pop them in the oven for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool and increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment, lay the bacon strips side by side, and bake for 25 minutes or until crisp. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the tray. Add the quartered cabbage (or brussels sprouts) to the bacon tray and toss. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter. Coarsely chop the bacon and sprinkle over the cabbage followed by the blue cheese and walnuts. Pour the pomegranate molasses over and serve.