GRILLING is a great way to jazz up vegetables.
Let’s face it… sometimes blanching, steaming, sautéing, roasting, or boiling can get a little, well, boring.
But GRILLING gives vegetables a whole new smoky flavor profile you just can’t get with any other method (well, maybe with broiling, since it involves open flame).
There are some vegetables that are grilling classics.
Think corn on the cob, grilled bell peppers for fajitas, grilled onions for burgers, or even grilled asparagus around the campfire.
But what about grilling leafy vegetables?
Grilled romaine hearts have been all the rage lately, drizzled with creamy caesar dressing and topped with rustic croutons.
But grilled radicchio is my favorite.
Its slightly bitter flavor profile pairs beautifully with the char from the grill, and when you toss it into a salad, it gives the whole thing a meaty/savory character.
For this salad, I used Castelfranco radicchio– a gorgeous variety with cream leaves flecked with magenta:
Isn’t it gorgeous??
This type of radicchio is slightly more mild than the traditional purple variety, but either will work in this recipe. Just use whatever you can find!
To offset the bitter flavors of the radicchio, I also grilled some onions for sweetness and threw in a succulent beefsteak tomato, fresh from the farmers market. Crunchy walnuts give the salad some texture, and the sharp blue cheese makes each bite sing.
This is a salad for salad-haters.
It’s really savory and hearty, filled with deep smoky flavors and rich ingredients. It goes great with a crisp white wine, some grilled shrimp on the barbie, and a hunk of crusty bread for an easy summer-inspired dinner.
- 1 medium head radicchio, quartered and cored
- 1/2 large red onion, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices (about 3 slices)
- olive oil, for brushing
- sprinkle of kosher salt
- sprinkle of ground black pepper
- 6 oz baby spinach
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons julienned basil
- 1 large beefsteak tomato, halved and cut into wedges
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Place a grill pan on the stove and warm over high heat (or, light a grill). Brush the quartered radicchio and sliced onions on all sides with olive oil and season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
When the grill pan is hot, place the radicchio and onion on the surface and “grill” for about 3-5 minutes per side for the radicchio, and 5-7 minutes per side for the onions, or until the vegetables are charred and tender when pierced with a fork. [If you are cooking on a real grill, you should probably use a grilling basket to prevent the vegetables from falling through the cracks]
Remove to a cutting board, let cool for a few minutes. Slice the radicchio crosswise into 1 1/2 inch slices, and cut each onion slice into thirds, separating the layers into individual pieces.
Meanwhile, place the baby spinach in a large salad bowl with the walnuts, blue cheese, parmesan, basil, and tomato. Add the warm grilled vegetables and toss to combine.
In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients (extra virgin olive oil, balsamic, garlic, Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper). Pour over the salad, toss to coat, and serve immediately. It goes great with crusty french bread and grilled shrimp as an easy summer supper.