Grilled Salad; Balance and Simplicity in One Sexy Cactus Bowl

That we inherited a free grill and that I am in love with all foods fresh and green coalesced into one very easy and very outstandingly good bowl of salad. This is a literal grilled salad and it is literally the best salad I have had in years. Crack a beer, fire that bad boy up, and delight in this recipe one balanced crunchy bite at a time.

Feeds 5

Ingredients:

For the Salad

One head radicchio

Half one head Cabbage

Five carrots

One head corn

One white onion

Two nectarines

For the Dressing

Two tbs olive oil

One tbs balsamic vinegar

One large, coarsely diced, clove garlic

One tsp thai chile sauce (any type that is quite sweet and slightly spicy)

Salt and Pepper

One tbs honey

To Prepare

This recipe is so very easy. Grill, chop, dress, and enjoy

Grill

Begin by heating the grill using high direct heat. While the grill is heating, prep your veggies. The prep is very simple for this dish, because you want your ingredients to be cut into large pieces. Cut the nectarines in half around the pit and pull apart. Radicchio and cabbage should be cut into quarters, and the onion and carrots cut in half.

Drizzle everything lightly with olive oil and lightly top with salt and pepper. Arrange all of your veggies on the grill. There is some strategy to this bit.

The corn is cooked in the husk. The radicchio cooks the fastest, ours being slightly charred after about three minutes. The cabbage, carrot, and onion take about ten minutes to soften. To test for doneness, try to flex your veggies. If they bend easily (or in the case of the onion, if the layers are soft and separate easily) then they are ready to be taken off of the heat. Corn takes just a little longer because of the husk, but it comes out sweet and soft and perfect this way. I prefer not to remove the husk and blacken the corn, but if that makes your mouth water, the corn blackens quickly once out of the husk, in about two minutes. The nectarines spend a very short time on the heat to bring out their sweetness and give them some heat and color.

So, all cooking times considered, I am particular about the order and placement of the veggies.

I add the corn to the grill just before I chop the rest of my veggies. This give the corn a little head-start. I then add my prepped veggies in a single layer on the direct heat. If you don’t put the corn down early it is a-okay. Alternatively, you can leave them on while you cut your veggies smaller post-grill and it will have the same effect.

I remove the radicchio and nectarine first after a single flip. Next, I remove the cabbage and carrots. Finally, I remove the corn and onion. I like the onion a little less raw-tasting so I let it get really hot and caramely.

I should really just start measuring the time things take to grill with how many beers worth of time has passed. But for now, eyeballing will have to do.

It looks a little something like this:DSC_0030YUM!

DSC_0041Fresh off the grill. Look at those sexy markings!

Chop

Now I let everything cool for a short time and dice everything into similar-sized pieces. Cut kernels off of your corn-cobs and dispose of your cobs. You want everything to be small enough to fit onto a fork with some variety, but large enough that the characteristics of each veggies is distinct.  The art of the perfect salad or what-have-you!

Slap all the chopped up morsels into a large bowl. I like to use a bigger bowl than the ingredients require so it is easier to give everything a nice toss.

Dress

Home-made salad dressing is just so simple and yummy. I usually just find random things to throw together to make something dressing-like if I every find myself with a bunch of naked greens and no real battle-plan.

For this dressing, I chose sweeter components to balance the bitterness of the radicchio and the earthiness of the heavily grilled pieces. The exciting part here is that all of these components are sweet because it is their nature to be so and therefor needs no additional sugar.

The balsamic I used was an authentic syrupy balsamic that tends to be very rich and sweet. Any balsamic will do, however, you may want to add a bit more honey if you get your hands on a balsamic that is more acidic than sweet.

DSC_0038

In a small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients and whip until well-incorporated. I also use a fork to crush the garlic pieces against the bottom of the bowl to release more flavor. Salt and pepper to taste, though keep in mind that your veggies are already lightly seasoned so go a bit light.

Pour overtop veggies and incorporate by tossing briefly. Your veggies should now be lightly and evenly dressed.

Yes, that is a large cactus bowl, brimming with grilled veggies. This is the most Summery scene that the Southwest has ever seen!

This dish has it all, the smokiness of the grill, the bitterness of the greens, the sweetness of the onion and corn, a little acid from the dressing. 

Enjoy, share, delight in the riches.

DSC_0050.JPG

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