Skip the Sweets With This Savory Dish Your Valentine Will Love
Most people don’t have any problem cooking with chocolate. Brownies, devil’s food cake, chocolate chip cookies. But when it comes to the savory side of things, it’s not as easy. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I was looking for a way to incorporate chocolate into a quick weeknight dinner. Maybe even something you could make ahead of time.
First stop — mole. I love to eat mole but when I started to look through recipes and make a plan, I was a little overwhelmed. What I didn’t want to work on was a mole shortcut, it felt disrespectful, somehow. I did find a version that Rick Bayless calls “A weekend mole that doesn’t take all weekend," but that one didn’t include chocolate. Maybe we’ll tackle it another time.
What I did find, however, was a simple and delicious sauce from Catalan called picada — though calling it a sauce might be a little bit of a stretch. Traditionally, picada would be used as a sauce thickener. Once I made some though, I thought it was delicious on its own. A simple, pesto-like condiment that you could keep in the fridge. Use it as it’s meant to be used, as a sauce thickener, or try it with a rotisserie chicken or tossed with roasted vegetables right out of the oven.
I served the Picada with charred cabbage right off the grill. Charred cabbage? Off the grill? That’s right. We started grilling cabbage after a tremendous meal at Pigeonhole in Calgary last fall. They serve it on a delicious jalapeno cream and smother it with what feels like a pound of mimolette. It’s an odd combo — but amazing. The picada made a great sauce for the cabbage, and when we were done, I chopped up the leftover cabbage, mixed it with the remaining picada, and had a ready-to-eat coleslaw-style side ready for dinner the next day.
What’s not to love?
Charred Cabbage with Picada Sauce
1 head of cabbage, quartered
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 garlic cloves, sliced
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate (I used 70%), grated
1 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup toasted, sliced or slivered almonds
salt, to taste
Prep the quartered cabbage for charing by microwaving it for 4 to 6 minute to soften. Brush the cooked cabbage with melted butter and season with salt. Place cabbage on a hot grill, cut side down, and let cook until charred. Flip to char both cut sides.
To make the sauce, heat olive oil and sliced garlic gently over medium heat in a small sauté pan. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, then remove from stove and let cool slightly.
Combine warm oil, garlic, grated chocolate, parsley, and almonds in a food processor and pulse until mixture forms a rough paste. Season to taste with salt. Sauce can be served immediately or kept in the refrigerator for up to a week.