This is a dish inspired by the salad I ate at Osteria Francescana, a three-Michelin-star restaurant based in Modena, Italy from world famous chef Massimo Bottura. I ate there with my cousins late last year and the meal was really great. The first course after the amuse bouche tastings was a “romaine” salad they might of called it a “Caesar” but it was anything but that. They placed this salad in front of us and I immediately said ”this is probably the best salad you will ever have, or at least it better be”. Typically if you are eating in one of the worlds best restaurants the last thing you want to eat or order, is a salad. Let me tell you that this was not your ordinary salad. It takes them roughly 20 minutes to plate this salad. Under each leaf is flavors of anchovy, citrus, cream, pistachio and probably a few other ingredients I have forgotten. They also spray each of the leaves with the dressing. With out a doubt it was the best salad I have ever had and probably ever will have. Visually it looked just like a plain baby romaine salad.
I took that same idea as far as flavors are concerned and used it for some baby cabbage that I bought at the farmers market. I cooked it gently a few different times and then topped it with a fennel-orange puree, pistachio butter, and anchovy puree. JP absolutely loved this and thought it was really amazing. Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it!
3 small baby cabbages blanched twice and then grilled
Fennel Orange puree
1 fennel sliced
1 leek white only sliced
1 tangerine zested
1 1/2 cup of tangerine juice
4 tbsp of olive oil
4 tbsp of butter
3 tbsp of cream
salt to taste
1 cup of pistachios roasted
1 cup of milk
1 cup of cream
1/2 cup of parsley leaves
Anchovy paste (store bought, or make your own)
Cabbage micro greens, chive blossoms
Espelete or Cayenne Pepper
For the Cabbage
Blanch the cabbages whole for 3-4 minutes. Then take out and cool. Then cut in half and blanch again for 3-4 minutes. Take our and place face down on a plate. When cooled completely then oil lightly, season with salt, and grill for 2-3 minutes just to give it a little grill and smokey flavor. Set aside to cool.
For the Pistachio Butter
Place pistachios, cream, and milk in a pot. Bring to a boil and then turn down to light simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes and strain out the liquid. Place the pistachios into a blender with the parsley leaves. Add roughly 1/3 cup of liquid back into the blender. Blend until completely smooth, you might need to add more liquid if it is too thick. Season with salt and place in a squirt bottle.
For the Fennel Orange Puree,
In a small sauce pot on medium heat add 2 tbsp of butter and olive oil. Add the leek, fennel, and 2 pinches of salt to the vegetables. Cover and cook for 10 minutes allow the vegetables to cook but not brown. Then add your zest and tangerine juice. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add the cream and cook for 3 minutes. Then place everything into a vitamix or blender and puree until smooth. I added a little more butter and olive oil to smooth out the sauce and make it a little richer. Season with salt. and set aside to cool. When room temperature pour the sauce into a squirt bottle.
Place cabbage in the oven for 3-5 minutes just to warm up. Take out and add dots of pistachio, fennel puree, and anchovy paste all over the cabbage. The anchovy should just be small amounts because of the strong flavor. Then drizzle the cabbage with olive oil. Garnish with micro cabbage, chive blossoms, and espelete or cayenne chile powder. Serve and enjoy!