Monday, 27 April 2015

Full-Steam, Grilled Salad!

Insalata di Romana, Radicchio, Carciofini, Patate & Piselli alla Piastra
Grilled Romaine, Radicchio, Baby Artichoke, Potato & Pea Salad

Salads... refreshing, healthy (or at least they should be!!!) and easy- although often predictable and frankly... well... a little boring!

But not when I make them! This salad was steamed and grilled! Ha! When was the last time you prepared a salad that way, huh?


Filled with color and rich with the flavors of the slightly bitter radicchio, the mild and creamy potatoes, the sweet and tender peas, the crunchy romaine and the exotic artichoke hearts, infused with mint and oregano and dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and honey... this is about as seriously good as a salad can get!


The ingredients I needed to make this lovely salad platter were: 1 small head of romaine, 1 small radicchio, 2 Spring onions, 4 small potatoes, 5 small baby artichokes, a couple of handfuls of fresh peas, some fresh mint, dried oregano, 1 lemon and some good olive oil and honey. Salt, pepper- over and out!


It's easy- it's fun- and it's a great little combination of classic Italian flavors. Artichokes, peas and mint go so well together and especially so with potatoes... letting them be kissed by the grill adds a hint more flavor- and the same goes for both the radicchio and romaine- it is simply a good thing all-round!


I trimmed the artichokes of their outer leaves, cut away the tough ends and then halved them before adding them to the potatoes which I peeled and cut into 4 and peas which I left in their pods... this was a spur of the moment decision... but little did I know at the time, it would turn out to be the best possible way to cook peas EVER!

I added plenty of mint leaves to add aroma, a good sprinkle of salt for seasoning- and steamed everything in my bamboo steamer for 15 minutes. After that time, I added the spring onions and plenty of finely chopped lemon zest and put the lid back on for 5 minutes... in which time I got my grill pan nice and hot.

Whilst that was happening, I quickly stirred together a simple dressing of 1 tablespoon of honey, 4 tablespoons of olive oil, the juice of the lemon, a good pinch of salt, a little pepper and a good pinch of dried oregano.


Then, when the pan was nice and piping hot, I drizzled the salad hearts lightly with olive oil and then pressed them briefly but firmly down onto the hot, iron and gave them some nice scorch marks... just for 1-2 minutes! You don't want to cook them- just let the cut surface caramelize slightly.

Next came the potatoes and artichokes, also lightly drizzled with olive oil... and whilst they were browning, I popped the cooked peas out of the pods and set them to one side... they were SO sweet and juicy that way!

Once the potatoes and artichokes had browned nicely, I briefly added the Spring onions and then turned off the heat to let everything cool down slightly- and got busy setting my salad out on a platter to serve!

Last of all, of course, came the dressing, which I spooned over everything, a little extra dried oregano and salt sprinkled on top... and that was it! Perfection! Ready to be served!


Such a rich and wonderful salad! Even if I DO say so myself... and of course... I do!


So- do salads have to be boring? I would say not! They can be exciting and colorful... and fun!

If you already like radicchio- you will really love it in combination with these other ingredients... and if you don't- this may be the dish to change your mind! Try it and see!

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