by Ann Taylor Pittman
Usher in spring with a super-green grilled salad that features some of the season’s best vegetables—asparagus, sugar snap peas, leeks, and tender romaine. Adding a kiss of char to the vegetables amps up the flavor and brings out the natural sweetness in the ingredients. And grilling over mild almond wood lump charcoal is ideal here because its subtlety won’t overpower the more delicate flavor nuances of the vegetables. If you can find a Meyer lemon, you’ll be delighted by the floral sweetness it contributes. If you can’t find one, no worries; a standard lemon will also taste great (just use a little less of its juice because it’s more tart than a Meyer lemon).
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Yields: 8 servings (serving size: about 1 cup salad and 1 avocado wedge)
1 (1-pound) bunch asparagus, trimmed
1 (10-ounce) romaine heart, halved lengthwise
1 medium leek, trimmed, rinsed well, and halved lengthwise
2 firm avocados, peeled and pitted
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
8 ounces sugar snap peas
1 Meyer lemon (or regular Eureka/Lisbon lemon)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh dill
- Prepare a charcoal grill to medium-high heat using Fire & Flavor Hardwood Lump Charcoal. Have a vegetable grill basket or piece of heavy-duty foil at the ready.
- Brush asparagus, romaine, leek, and avocados with 2 1/2 tablespoons oil. Combine sugar snap peas and 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a small bowl, tossing to coat. Arrange peas on a vegetable grill basket or piece of foil on hot grill; arrange asparagus, romaine, leek, and avocado halves directly on grill rack. Grill vegetables until crisp-tender and well marked, about 2 to 5 minutes per side. Remove vegetables from grill, and cool slightly.
- Grate the zest from the lemon to equal about 1 teaspoon. Juice lemon to equal about 3 tablespoons. (If using a regular lemon, go with 2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons juice.) Combine zest, juice, mustard, salt, pepper, and remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a jar. Close lid; shake jar well until dressing is emulsified.
- Cut asparagus into roughly 2-inch pieces. Slice romaine crosswise into 1 1/2-inch strips. Thinly slice leek halves crosswise. Cut each avocado half in half. Place asparagus, romaine, leeks, and sugar snap peas in a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing, and sprinkle with parsley and dill; toss gently to combine. Tuck avocado pieces into salad. Serve warm or at room temperature.