The morning after my last meal at Hatchet Hall, I cooked steak hash with the remnants of the big rib-eye. I seared the soft, gingerbread-scented chunks of winter squash in a bit of olive oil. I let the slices of grilled sweet onion, zapped with garlic and anchovy, come to room temperature. And almost as an afterthought, I reheated most of an order of buttered cabbage, mostly to free up a bit of room in the refrigerator. Hatchet Hall is one of the most formidable leftover producers this side of a kebab parlor, at least if you are powerless against vegetables — it is hard to leave the restaurant without an armload of cardboard boxes.
The squash and the hash were pretty spectacular — lovely marbling and a glaze of chimichurri gave a nice edge to the smoky richness of the steak. But it was that homely bowl of cabbage, pretty much ignored the evening before, that became a source of awe.
How could lightly cooked greens develop such complex sweetness? How did a tiny scattering of cumin seeds produce such a penetrating topnote? Did the cooks among us really need to sauté our cabbage with quite that much butter — the amount of butter involved was truly formidable — or was the secret Hatchet Hall's peak-season farmers market produce? The cabbage was gone. I snuck into the kitchen and scraped the last of the cabbage-flavored butter from the bottom of the takeout carton.