Cabbage Wedges with Warm Pancetta Vinaigrette
['1 small head red or green cabbage (2 pounds or less)', '5 tablespoons good-quality olive oil', '4 ounces thickly sliced pancetta, chopped', '3 tablespoons sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar', 'Salt and pepper']
Start the coals or heat a gas grill for medium direct cooking. Make sure the grates are clean.
Discard any discolored outer leaves from the cabbage, cut it into 8 wedges, then trim the stem a bit but leave enough on to keep the wedges together. Brush the cabbage on all sides with 2 tablespoons of the oil.
Put the cabbage on the grill directly over the fire, cut side down. Close the lid and cook until the bottom browns, about 5 minutes; turn and cook the other side. Transfer to a platter.
While the cabbage is grilling, put the pancetta in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it renders its fat and the meat crisps, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the vinegar and remaining 3 tablespoons oil, and whisk to combine; taste and add some salt and pepper. (You can make the vinaigrette up to a day ahead; refrigerate and gently reheat it before using.) Pour the hot dressing over the cabbage wedges and serve.
Cabbage Wedges with Warm Bacon-Cumin Vinaigrette: The classic combination: Substitute diced thick-sliced or slab bacon for the pancetta and add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds along with the vinegar.
Cabbage Wedges with Apple Cider–Caraway Vinaigrette: Lose the meat: For the vinaigrette, whisk together 1/2 cup good-quality olive oil, 3 tablespoons cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, and salt and pepper to taste. No need to heat it up.
Ketchup and Soy–Glazed Cabbage Wedges: Sweet and salty: Omit the vinaigrette. Instead of olive oil, brush the cabbage with a mixture of 1 tablespoon each good-quality vegetable oil and sesame oil. Combine 2 tablespoons each ketchup and soy sauce and 1 tablespoon each rice vinegar and minced fresh ginger and whisk until combined. Just before taking the cabbage off the grill, brush the glaze on top, close the lid, and cook for a minute; turn and repeat with the other side.
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