As the pursuit to eat more veggies ensues, I find that that all too familiar food boredom strikes often. One can only eat roasted veggies so many times before it gets tired. I have found that char-grilling vegetables can have a transformative effect on them. In the absence of a fire, tossing them on a griddle pan makes them smoky while still retaining that desirable crunch. Ah that sacred veggie crunch. It’s a delicate dance, let me tell you, to achieve that perfect balance between just cooked enough to not taste raw, and under-cooked just enough to attain the right texture. Soggy just won’t cut it.
This salad, served at room temperature, makes a great accompaniment for just about any main dish.
Recipe serves 2-4 as a side.
½ a fennel bulb, sliced into disks
70 grams of long stem broccoli/broccolini
1 red onion, sliced into rings
2 Courgettes, sliced into ribbons
1 handful of Asparagus
A few sprigs of fresh flat parsley, finely chopped
A few sprigs of chives, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of crème fraiche
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon of grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
Salt and pepper
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
A couple of crushed walnuts (optional)
How to make it:
Start by blanching the broccoli and asparagus and set them aside.
Once the rest of the vegetables are all sliced, coat them in some olive oil. Next, heat up a griddle pan to a high heat and grill the vegetables on either side (broccoli and asparagus included). Do this in batches and be careful not to crowd the veggies in the pan. You want the pan to score the veggies with the grill marks, thus allowing for them to take on the smoky flavour. Be careful not to burn them entirely. The aim is high heat for a short time.
To make the dressing, combine the mayonnaise, crème fraiche, and grated parmesan, a pinch of salt pepper, a hearty squeeze of fresh lemon juice, parsley, chives, walnuts and a teaspoon of olive oil. Whisk the ingredients together and drizzle over the grilled vegetables.