2 Grilled Salads To Make With The AIO Grill

Posted by Shawn Smith on

Recipe and photos by Chef Kevin O'Connor


2 Grilled Salads to Make with the All-In-One Cast Iron Grill

The rivers, lakes, and swimming holes of Northern California have a unique draw in the late spring and early summer; the terrain is still lush, green, and splattered with wildflower blooms while the days are warm and sunny enough to encourage an inaugural dip into the refreshing snowmelt. As the days begin to lengthen there’s only more and more opportunity for lazy outdoor dinners with friends.

On perfect days like these nothing is better than wading through a river and setting up on a big rock to make a late afternoon supper.

I was able to pack my bag with the All-In-One Cast Iron Grill and still scramble down a hill, then trudge through a rocky river before setting up my kitchen on a flat outcropping. Some simple, no-fuss dishes allowed us to casually drink, splash about, and forage along the river bank without having to worry about a large production. The little gems lettuce grilled up just as quickly as they were enjoyed, as a salad with crumbled feta, almond dukkah, and fresh lemon. By just bringing a few handfuls of wood chips I was able to transform my grill into a smoker for a chunk of fresh salmon, which was the highlight of a green lentil salad with radish and arugula.

 


Grilled Little Gem Lettuce with Crumbled Feta and Almond Dukkah

Servings: 4 | Prep Time: 15 min + time to prep coals | Cook Time: 7 min | Total Time: 25+ min

Crisp, crunchy heads of little gem lettuce are hearty enough to stand up to a bit of grilling. If you can’t find little gems, feel free to use romaine hearts. The almond dukkah is a great way to clear extra nuts and seeds out of the pantry, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different combinations. The little gems don’t need too long on the grill, so this is the perfect starter to enjoy while you smoke salmon.  

Materials

Ingredients

For the grilled salad

  • 3 heads of little gem lettuce
  • One lemon (for zest and juice)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces feta, crumbled
  • Salt to taste

For the dukkah

  • ½ cup almonds, toasted
  • ¼ sunflower/pumpkin/sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted
  • A pinch of flakey salt
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

    Instructions

    1. Start a fire in the bowl of the All-in-One Cast Iron Grill; use a hardwood, like oak or almond, and allow it to burn down to a glowing coal bed. You can also skip the fire and ignite enough charcoal to cover the bottom of the bowl.
    2. To make the dukkah, roughly crush the toasted nuts, seeds and spices together with a mortar and pestle. Stir in the salt and 1 teaspoon of olive oil to help bind everything evenly. Set aside.
    3. While waiting for the coals, prepare the lettuces by removing the outer leaves and splitting the heads down the center, lengthwise. Place the split lettuce heads on a tray and drizzle both sides with olive oil before seasoning each head with a pinch of salt.
    4. Once glowing, spread the coals evenly and place the grill grate back on to the top of the All-In-One. Transfer the heads of lettuce, cut side down, to the grill grate and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the lettuces are caramelized but not too soft. Turn the lettuces occasionally, but focus on grilling the cut side.
    5. Remove the little gems lettuce from the grill and transfer to a platter. Build the salad by first drizzling another tablespoon of olive oil over the gems, followed by the crumbled feta. Finish with a sprinkling of the dukkah and the zest and juice of the lemon (to taste). Serve immediately.

    Hot Smoked Salmon and French Lentil Salad with Arugula and Radish

    Servings: 4 | Prep Time: 45 min | Cook Time: 25 min | Total Time: 70 min

     

    French green lentils, also known as lentils du Puy, make for great salads as they tend to hold their shape better than other lentils. A bit of crunchy radish and spicy arugula is the perfect complement to smoky, fatty salmon. Trout is a great alternative if that is what is available locally. This salad will easily serve four hungry guests.  

    Materials

    Ingredients

    • 1.5 lbs fresh salmon or trout, skin on and bones removed
    • 3 cups cooked green lentils (lentils du Puy)
    • A few handfuls of fresh arugula
    • 1 heaping cup radish, sliced
    • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
    • 1 lemon, halved
    • Salt to taste 

    Instructions

    1. Toss the cooked lentils together with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, and a pinch of salt. This can be done before heading out to smoke the salmon to allow the lentils to marinate.
    2. Submerge the wood chips in a container of water to soak before starting a fire in the bowl of the All-in-One Cast Iron Grill; use a hardwood, like oak or almond, and allow it to burn down to a glowing coal bed. You can also skip the fire and ignite enough charcoal to cover the bottom of the bowl.
    3. While the fire is burning down to coals, prepare the salmon. Place the filet, skin side down, on the grill grate (away from the fire), and season heavily with salt. Allow the seasoned salmon to sit for at least 20-30 minutes to lightly cure.
    4. When an evenly glowing bed of coals is achieved, remove the chips from the water and gently scatter over the coals. Place the grate with the salmon on top of the grill and place the lid over the top, leaving it slightly cracked to allow a bit of oxygen to get to the coals.
    5. Let the salmon smoke for 15-25 minutes, or until cooked. Cooking time will depend on how hot your coals are, but the combination of the hot coals and smoke will cook the salmon thoroughly. If the chips begin to burn too much, fully place the lid over the grill and continue to toggle between lid on and lid cracked.
    6. Remove the lid entirely from the All-In-One to slow the cooking process of the salmon. Squeeze half the lemon over the top of the salmon to finish, reserving the other lemon half for the salad.
    7. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the lentils, sliced radish, and arugula before flaking the cooked salmon off of the skin and into the bowl. Gently fold in chunks of smoked salmon. Season with salt, the juice of the reserved lemon, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil before serving. 

    ABOUT

    Raised in the Sierra Foothills, Kevin developed a love for gathering, hunting, foraging, and cooking at a young age. Starting in fine dining at the age of fourteen, the first twelve years of his career were spent in some of California’s best restaurants, while the past five years have been spent traveling the world with knives in tow. No matter the venture, Kevin strives to find a true connection to the food he cooks and the places it comes from. An avid outdoorsman and adventurist, he prefers an open fire to a traditional kitchen, cooking from the heart with a deep respect for seasonal ingredients.

     

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