Grilled Cabbage With Preserved Lemon Mostarda

June  8, 2023
2 Ratings
Photo by MJ Kroeger
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 2 to 3
Author Notes

Welcome to Plus One, a column by Food Editor Emily Ziemski where those small-but-mighty additions that instantly upgrade whatever’s on the table—ingredients, sauces, toppings—are the star of the show. Today, it’s *all* about mostarda, a sweet and sour mustard sauce.

I feel the most at home when I am cooking and caring for my loved ones. It explains why I gravitated towards the hospitality industry—in particular, cooking. The first time I made this recipe was a sleepy, late summer afternoon at a beach house filled with some of my favorite people. With the sun beating down on the lawn, I broke out the grill while taking in the deliciously salty air. It made me crave something charred and bright, much like what my skin was feeling like at that moment (please, wear sunscreen). I dug through various leftovers in the fridge until I found an abandoned cabbage head and a jar of mustard. I figured grilling cabbage would give it a new life and be plentiful enough to feed the sun-kissed masses.

The original iteration of this recipe used a blueberry mostarda, but I wanted to stretch the seasonality of this dish to last all summer long, which is where the preserved lemon came in. That concentrated acidic tang is a beautiful complement to the charred cabbage, and only amplifies the zest that Dijon mustard provides. Let this cabbage serve as a love letter to summer, to grilling, and to all the endless ways we take care of each other. —Emily Ziemski

What You'll Need
  • For the grilled greens:
  • 1 head green cabbage, cored and halved, then cut into thirds lengthwise
  • 4 to 5 scallions, ends trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • For the mostarda:
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 preserved lemon peel, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained and roughly chopped
  1. Heat a grill to 425ºF (if using a grill pan, heat over medium-high heat until hot, about 5 minutes).
  2. Place the cabbage and scallions in a large bowl; add the oil and salt. Toss to coat.
  3. Add the cabbage and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, turning the cabbage occasionally to cook on all sides. The outer leaves should be charred and softened, and the inner leaves will be slightly translucent (you can test tenderness by giving each cabbage quarter a little squeeze with tongs—if it compresses slightly under pressure, it’s good to go).
  4. Once the cabbage has grilled for about 10 minutes, add the scallions and cook for another 7 minutes, flipping occasionally.
  5. Remove the grilled vegetables from the grill (or grill pan), and transfer to a bowl. Cover until ready to serve—this allows them to continue to steam and soften even more under the residual cooking heat.
  6. To make the mostarda, whisk together the oil and Dijon mustard until combined and smooth. Add the preserved lemons and sugar; whisk until thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the capers just before serving.
  7. Serve the grilled vegetables drizzled with as much of the mostarda as desired.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Erika Yen
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  • Kelty Garbee
    Kelty Garbee
  • mela
Emily Ziemski

Recipe by: Emily Ziemski

Food Editor @ Food52

6 Reviews

Erika Y. September 5, 2023
Adored this dish. The cabbage is smoky and sweet, while the dressing sour with bitter notes. I’d serve with anything that roasts up sweet, but the char really adds fantastic depth.
Kelty G. June 11, 2023
We grilled salmon, shrimp and barbecue chicken along with veggies. This received rave reviews! We were out of capers so we went without and it was still good. We cooked the cabbage in a cast iron skillet on the grill to prevent it from being messy and getting stuck or falling through. It was really good.
Emily Z. September 6, 2023
love the cast iron pan hack!
mela June 11, 2023
Emily, this sounds fabulous. In the absence of a grill, what else could you serve this mostarda with?
Emily Z. September 6, 2023
If you're lacking a grill, you can roast the cabbage on a sheet tray for 25-30ish minutes, to get the full dish experience. Otherwise, I love this mostarda on a crostini with prosciutto, thinned out with olive oil as a salad dressing, or even as a marinade for meats :)
mela September 6, 2023