Spring Asparagus Salad with Raw and Grilled Greens

This show-stopping grilled greens salad is a celebration of spring ingredients and colors. It unites grilled and raw lettuce with asparagus for a surprisingly fresh combination of flavors and textures.


  • Small bunch of asparagus
  • 2 romaine hearts
  • 2 green endives
  • 2 red endives
  • Small head of radicchio
  • 3 lemons
  • 15-oz can of water-packed artichoke hearts
  • Avocado
  • 0.5 c pesto
  • 0.25 c toasted pine nuts
  • Generous flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the grill to high heat and oil the racks very well.
  2. Prepare the asparagus by cutting off the tough ends.
  3. Prepare the lettuce (romaine, endives, and radicchio) by cutting all the heads into narrow spears. Make sure each lettuce spear includes part of the stem; otherwise the lettuce will fall apart.
  4. Cut the lemons in half and remove the seeds.
  5. Grill the asparagus lightly so that it is tender but still retains its shape and bright color, about five minutes. Set it aside.
  6. Grill about half of the lettuce spears. You can either grill all of a certain kind, leaving other kinds raw, or grill half of each type. Grill it very hot and fast, in order to get some char on the cut side but not warm the lettuce through.
  7. Grill the lemon halves until charred; keep a close eye on them because the sugars will burn quickly.
  8. Drain the artichoke hearts and cut them into halves or quarters.
  9. Cut the avocado into halves or wedges.
  10. Assemble the salad on a serving platter, arranging the larger items first and then adding smaller items on top.
  11. Drizzle the salad with the juice from one of the grilled lemons, then add small dollops of pesto.
  12. Finish the salad with pine nuts and generous sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve with the remaining grilled lemon halves for drizzling onto individual portions.