Grilled Chicory and Asparagus Salad

Here's a no-fuss salad of chicory and asparagus, great for a day of backyard barbecuing. The homemade lemon cream adds brightness and unique flavor to this colorful, easy-to-make side.
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 35 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

For The Hazelnut Vinaigrette

1/4 cup champagne or other white wine vinegar

3/4 cup hazelnut oil (you may substitute olive oil)

1 shallot, medium

1 teaspoon thyme, fresh, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 1/2 teaspoon mustard, whole ground or Dijon

For The Lemon Cream

1 egg yolk

2 tablespoons cold water

1 cup canola oil

4 cloves roasted garlic

2 lemons, juiced and zest

Salt and pepper, to taste

To Finish/assemble

2 heads escarole, cleaned and trimmed of all green leaves, leaving only white hearts

4 cups arugula

2 heads Treviso radicchio, halved

1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed

1 cup toasted crushed hazelnuts, skins removed

Salt and pepper, to taste

Agro mosto or aged balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup hazelnut vinaigrette

1/4 cup lemon cream

Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, to taste

Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed

Directions

  1. FOR THE HAZELNUT VINAIGRETTE: Peel and dice the shallot. Sprinkle thyme, salt, and pepper over the shallot and mince well. In a medium sized bowl, add the champagne vinegar and shallot mixture. Macerate for five minutes. While mixing with a whisk, slowly drizzle the hazelnut oil into the vinegar/shallot mixture. Add mustard and incorporate well. Taste for seasoning and balance.
  2. TO MAKE HOMEMADE ROASTED GARLIC: Place a whole head of garlic on a medium-sized piece of aluminum foil. Pour about one tablespoon of olive oil over the garlic. Add salt and pepper. Cover the seasoned garlic with the aluminum foil and place on the grill or in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes, or until soft. FOR THE LEMON CREAM: In a food processor or blender, add the egg yolk. Mix until the yolk turns a lighter yellow color and becomes frothy. While the food processor is running, remove skin from roasted garlic and add cloves to food processor, saving the oil in the aluminum foil. Slowly add this oil to the food processor and season the mixture with salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the canola oil until well incorporated. The mixture should be homogeneous but not thick. Remove mixture from food processor and add to a mixing bowl. Add the zest of two lemons, water, and juice of one lemon, salt and pepper to the mixture. Loosen the mixture with more lemon juice and water if necessary. It should be like a loose mayo with good lemon and roasted garlic flavor.
  3. Lay the escarole, radicchio, and asparagus out on a large, flat platter. Coat vegetables with olive oil and agro mosto. Season with salt and pepper. Note: The veggies can hold this way in the fridge for 1-2 hours before grilling.
  4. Light the charcoal using a chimney starter. Place real wood charcoal into the chimney. Place several sheets of loosely crumpled newspaper under the bottom of the chimney. Ensure the charcoal is red hot, should take approximately 20-25 minutes.
  5. Lay asparagus directly over the hottest portion of the grill, across the grill grates. Drizzle a little olive oil over the asparagus to lubricate. Grill 1-2 minutes, turning occasionally so all sides are charred. Move to indirect heat on the grill until they are soft with a slight crunch. When you squeeze them, they should forgive. Remove from grill and re-add to platter. Add radicchio, halved side down, to direct heat on the grill. Grill for 2-3 minutes, turning occasionally, until all sides are slightly charred. Remove from grill and re-add to platter. Add escarole to direct heat. Grill for 1-2 minutes, turning occasionally, until slightly charred. Remove from grill and re-add to platter. Immediately after grilling, squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the vegetables and set aside to cool.
  6. TO FINISH/ASSEMBLE: Once the vegetables are cool, plate the asparagus in a serving bowl. Remove white cores from the radicchio and escarole and add to a large mixing bowl. Add arugula and season with salt and pepper. Add 3-4 tablespoons of the hazelnut vinaigrette, toss to incorporate, and taste. Add more vinaigrette if desired. Plate the salad over the asparagus. Drizzle lemon cream lightly over the top. Top with hazelnuts, freshly grated parmesan and serve.