Grilled Salad with Harissa Dressing

Late summer vegetables are made for the BBQ.  Grilling on an open flame, when it’s done right, boosts the sweetness and juiciness of almost anything while imparting a smokiness and charred bits that indoor cooking can merely mimic.  A bold Harissa dressing plays perfectly with that making this a truly addictive main course salad or memorable side dish.  Equally good served hot, cold or at room temperature, it will have you longing for a charcoal grill the minute there’s no more.

Yield: 9 cups

What you need:

  • 4 ears of corn, shucked
  • 2 whole zucchini
  • 2 red bell peppers, halved and seeded
  • olive oil for rubbing on the zucchini
  • 1 cup sliced Kalamata olives
  • 1-1/2 cups cooked black, Puy or French green lentils
  • 3 tablespoons Harissa paste (unsalted)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white (shiro) miso
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if the Harissa is salted)
  • sliced scallions and/or cilantro to serve (optional)

What you do:

  1. Get the grill ready.  Preferably an outdoor charcoal grill for optimum flavor and flame-broiliness.  Start by roasting the outside of the corn so there are black bits here and there, turning often.  Time will vary depending on the heat of the grill, but 2 to 3 minutes is usually fine.  Remove from the grill and then wrap each ear of corn in foil and return to the grill, covered, for 5-10 minutes or until the corn is cooked.
  2. While the corn is cooking, oil the zucchinis all over their exterior.  Grill them whole, until charred-ish on the outside (but not too much), and tender and juicy (cooked) all the way through.
  3. At some point while all that is happening, pop the peppers onto the grill and roast until the skin is charred black.  Remove and put them in a paper bag to cool (or something covered), so the skin loosens.
  4. While the veggies cool enough to be handled, mix together the Harissa, lemon juice, miso, ginger powder and salt in a small bowl until smooth.
  5. Cut the kernels off the corn and put them in a large bowl.  Quarter the zucchini lengthwise and then dice before adding to the bowl.  Peel the red pepper halves and then dice the flesh to add to the salad too.  Add the cooked lentils and olives.
  6. Pour (or scoop out) the dressing over the salad and mix well to thoroughly combine the ingredients and coat them with sauce.
  7. Serve as is or sprinkled with fresh scallions or cilantro if desired.

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