Spicy Sauteed Cabbage with Chickpeas and Parmesan

I just finished reading Chef Gabrielle Hamilton’s book “Blood, Bones & Butter”. I was familiar with the author already, having watched her compete with (and beat!) Bobby Flay on Iron Chef. I remember reading an article about her in an issue of Bon Appétit magazine. I guess it was both her charisma on the show and what I learned about her in the article that made me take deep interest in her. Quite a few people mentioned her book on their must-read list. I was very curious, very. I sent an extract from her book to my Kindle and read it twice. I finally bought the book and read it on my daily commute, savoring it one small bite at a time.

Strictly speaking, the book is not about food. It is about the author’s (inadvertent) journey to become a chef, and it is one of the best pieces of writing I have ever read.

In the very last chapter of the book, Chef Hamilton mentions cooking for her ex-husband’s Italian family, among other things, a dish of cabbage and parmesan. The unexpected combination truly shocked me. Coming from a culture with an extensive use of cabbage, I never expected it to be paired up with cheese. I quickly looked up a recipe online and found one in BA February 2012 issue.


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cups shredded green cabbage
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan


Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cabbage and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden and crisp-tender, 7–8 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in chickpeas and 2 Tbsp. water; cook until beans are warmed through and all liquid is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Stir in peppercorns and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute. Transfer to a serving platter and squeeze lemon juice over to taste. Sprinkle with Parmesan.


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