Grilled and Raw Spring Salad

This show-stopping salad is a celebration of spring ingredients and colors. It unites grilled and raw items for a surprising combination of flavors and textures.

Ingredients

  • Small bunch of asparagus
  • 2 romaine hearts
  • 2 green endives
  • 2 purple endives
  • Small head of radicchio
  • 3 lemons
  • 15-oz can of water-packed artichoke hearts
  • Avocado
  • Generous drizzle of pesto
  • Small handful of roasted pine nuts
  • Generous flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the grill to high heat and oil the racks very well.
  2. Prep the asparagus by cutting off the tough ends.
  3. Prep the lettuce (romaine, endives, and radicchio) by cutting all the heads into narrow spears.
  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 5-10 minutes. Set it aside.
  6. Grill about half of the lettuce. You can either grill all of a certain kind, leaving other kinds raw, or grill half of each type. Make sure to grill it very hot and fast, in order to get some char on the cut side but not warm the lettuce through. Don't over-cook it or the lettuce will wilt!
  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 your salad. Start by arranging the biggest spears of lettuce in a symmetrical, circular pattern. Then layer the smaller spears on top. Nestle the asparagus spears among the lettuce, and keep the small artichoke hearts for the top. Put the avocado in the center or interspersed with the lettuce.
  11. Drizzle the whole creation with the juice from some of your grilled lemons, then add small dollops of pesto scattered across the whole salad.
  12. Finish with generous freshly ground pepper and sea salt, as well as a big handful of pine nuts. Serve additional grilled lemon wedges for squeezing onto individual portions.