Weeknight Kitchen: Grilled Broccoli Rabe and Arugula Salad

Aug 1, 2013

So many people miss out on broccoli rabe because they don't know what to do with it. Pure transformation happens when you grill any vegetable with an edge of bitterness to it, but broccoli rabe (a.k.a. rab, rappini, and others) can really take on a new life on the grill.

Serves 4 or 6

This is such a wonderfully fresh salad, full of different tastes and textures: charred, spicy, herbal, naturally acidic, and crisp. I love to serve this as a palate-cleansing salad course.

Tomatillo Pecan Pesto

4 tomatillos, husked, rinsed,and diced (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon Louisiana-Style Hot Sauce
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup pecans, toasted androughly chopped


1 bunch broccoli rabe,ends trimmed
1 celery stalk, peeled of long fibers and thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups packed arugula
1/2 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup pecans, toasted androughly chopped
1/2 cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano

Prepare a grill for direct-heat cooking.

To make the tomatillo pecan pesto, place the tomatillos, Louisiana-Style Hot Sauce, garlic, parsley, cilantro, basil, cumin, salt, lime juice, and 1/4 cup cold water in a blender or food processor and pulse the mixture until incorporated. Add the cheese and pulse a few more times, then add the pecan pieces and pulse just to incorporate. The pesto can be made ahead and refrigerated in a covered container for up to 3 days.

To make the salad, toss the broccoli rabe with 1/2 cup of the pesto and grill it over medium heat for 2 to 4 minutes, until it chars. (If you have a meshbottom grill pan, here is your chance to use it.) Once charred, cut the broccoli rabe crosswise into thirds and place in a bowl.

Meanwhile, place the celery, lemon juice, and salt in a small bowl, toss, and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes. (This is a quick-pickled celery.) Add the arugula, parsley, cilantro, and basil to the bowl with the broccoli rabe, and toss with the remaining pesto.

Divide among 8 plates. Top each salad with a sprinkling of the pickled celery, toasted pecans, and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano.

From Smoke: New Firewood Cooking copyright © 2013 by Tim Byers. Used by permission Rizzoli Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

Originally published on the Splendid Table's website.