When I first heard about grilled salad I thought it sounded totally cool, but I was skeptical. Seemed a bit too gimmicky. One of those, “it’s halfway through the summer and I’m sick of the same-old green salad , so let’s try something else….ANYTHING else, to get us out of the same-old salad rut”.
This salad is the real deal. Grilling the radicchio (or red chicory/endive if you live in the UK and can’t get radicchio…or at least I haven’t found it…so if anyone in the London area has found it, let me know!) removes the bitterness therefore allowing it to be the one and only green of the salad as opposed to its typical second-fiddle roll, tossed along with other greens such as romaine or rocket in bagged salads.
If making at a BBQ, grill the salad before the meat. While the meat cooks, let the veg cool down a bit before you chop them. A tip for the asparagus….to trim off the woody, thick ends just hold a stalk and gently apply pressure to the end until it snaps. It should naturally snap where the woody bit begins. Cool trick!
Another tip, to get nice parmesan curls use a vegetable peeler. This salad tastes best at room temp or even slightly warm. Now enough for the tips, get grilling!
Also, I’m very excited to announce that I’ll be attending my first food blogger conference this fall in London….conveniently a mile down the road from my house. How could I not go?
Grilled Salad of Radicchio, Asparagus & Mushrooms (serves 4 as a side dish)
Note: You don’t see grilled salad every day, so this makes for a really interesting and dramatic presentation. If you don’t have a grill, use a heavy pan over high heat to “grill” the veg. Use a vegetable peeler to shave the parmesan.
1 head radicchio or 2 heads red chicory (endive), halved lengthwise (approx. 7 ounces / 200 grams)
8 ounces (225 grams) asparagus (about 1 bunch)
7 ounces (200 grams) mushrooms
4 tablespoons olive oil, separated
Salt and pepper
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Pinch of granulated sugar
2 ounces (50 grams) thinly sliced proscuitto di Parma, torn into strips
1 ounce (30 grams) shaved parmesan cheese
Heat a gas grill on high. Cut the radicchio / chicory in half lengthwise. Snap off tough ends off of the asparagus. In a medium bowl, toss the radicchio, asparagus and mushrooms with 2 tablespoons olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Grill, flipping as needed, until nicely marked all over and tender, about 4-5 minutes total. Place vegetables on a cutting board and let them cool a bit.
Meanwhile, using the same medium bowl, make the vinaigrette by whisking the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil with the lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
Core the radicchio. Cut the radicchio, asparagus and mushrooms into pieces about 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces. Return to the bowl with the vinaigrette and toss along with the prosciutto and parmesan. Proscuitto may clump a bit. If so, just separate with your fingers. Serve at room temperature.