Picking vegetables from the garden has been one of Cassidee Dabney’s joys since she was a child. But now the day’s fresh produce plays a starring role in gourmet dishes served on fine china. Dabney is the executive chef at the Barn at Blackberry Farm, the James Beard Award–winning restaurant at the famed luxury resort in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains. She frequently changes the menu to highlight local, seasonal ingredients—many of them grown on the property. Dabney’s hearth-roasted cabbage is a prime example, showcasing fall flavors in a hearty, vegan entree. After blanching the whole head, she lets the cabbage cool. Next, she cuts it into wedges, sears each section in a hot cast-iron skillet, and roasts them until caramelized, giving the vegetable a smoky flavor. She then fills each layer with agrodolce (a sauce she creates with lentils and a homemade vinegar), rests it in squash puree seasoned with roasted garlic oil and cumin, and finishes the entree with chopped, toasted pumpkin seeds and fresh parsley.
This article appears in the Fall 2023 issue of Southbound