Cast Iron

Chris Schlesinger & John Willoughby's Grilled Sausage and Cornbread Salad

October  7, 2014
2 Ratings
Photo by Alpha Smoot
  • Serves 4, with leftover cornbread
Author Notes

The perfect tailgate salad -- it's portable, meaty (or easily made meatless), and goes great with beer. To take it with you, just keep the dressing on the side till you get there. Unless you're traveling far, the cornbread can be mixed in with the other ingredients -- it's not very absorbent. Recipe adapted from Let the Flames Begin: Tips, Techniques, and Recipes for Real Live Fire Cooking (W. W. Norton & Company, 2002) and Sam Sifton's version of Schlesinger's East Coast Grill Cornbread (New York Times Magazine, 2012).Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • Dressing and Salad
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, puréed
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 2 ripe tomatoes about the size of baseballs, cored and diced large
  • 1/2 red onion, peeled and diced small
  • 1 ripe Hass avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced medium
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 1 pound fresh sausage links of your choice
  • 2 cups 3/4-inch cubes cornbread
  • Cornbread (adapted from the East Coast Grill, Cambridge, MA via Sam Sifton)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  1. Dressing and Salad
  2. Build a fire in your grill and let it die down to medium. (You should be able to hold your hand about 5 inches above the grill rack for 4 to 5 seconds.)
  3. To make the dressing: Meanwhile, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, chiles, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. To make the salad: Combine the tomatoes, avocado, onion, and cilantro or parsley and toss gently to combine. Add the dressing to taste, and gently toss again. Set aside.
  5. To toast the cornbread, spread out the cubes on a baking sheet and bake at 325 to 350° F for about 10 minutes, turning once or twice, until golden brown.
  6. Put the sausages on the grill and cook well, 5 to 8 minutes per side. To check for doneness, cut into one and peek to be sure it's cooked through, with no trace of pink inside. When the sausages are done, slice them neatly on the diagonal so they keep their shape. Alternately, you can keep them whole, and serve with a fork and knife.
  7. Add the toasted cornbread to the salad and toss gently, adding more dressing to taste. Divide the salad among four plates, top with the grilled sausage, and serve.
  1. Cornbread (adapted from the East Coast Grill, Cambridge, MA via Sam Sifton)
  2. Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly oil a 9-inch cast-iron skillet and put it in the oven to heat up.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking powder. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and oil. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients, add the melted butter and stir together until just mixed.
  4. Remove the hot cast-iron pan from the oven and pour the batter into it, then give the pan a smack on the countertop to even it out. Return pan to oven and bake, approximately 1 hour, until the cornbread is browned on top and a toothpick or a thin knife inserted into the top comes out clean. Let cool before turning out and cutting.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • John Moran Jr
    John Moran Jr
  • Kristen Miglore
    Kristen Miglore
  • Jessamin
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

18 Reviews

BHOBART June 17, 2023
This is barely a chutney/salsa much less a salad - and given the amount of editing it looks like it's half baked at that. PASS.
Jessamin July 15, 2021
Absolute perfection. This is a great (and elegant) recipe for when you're grilling nights have become too intense with too many moving parts. I live in NC and have had a cornbread recipe I've used for years, and the cornbread recipe here incredible and my new go-to. The dressing is such a nice way to use chipotles and I can see putting this on a host of other sides.
Jessamin July 15, 2021
I wish I could edit this to correct some grammar and typos. Please excuse my food coma.
csemsack June 29, 2021
What type of sausage have people been using?
Jessamin July 15, 2021
I used a sugar-free organic smoked sausage from Costco. I think anything from brats to sweet Italians to even a grilled turkey kielbasa would be great. Maybe nothing hot, since the dressing has some spice.
Food5273 July 24, 2020
WOW! Made this exactly as written and the results are amazing. As it turns out, this is the cornbread recipe I've sworn by for years and just happened to have half a round in the fridge when I discovered this gem of a recipe. Have made it 3x in 2 weeks it's that good. I'm now adding grilled corn kernels and cucumber and it is a household favorite. The dressing is INCREDIBLE!
Darian October 27, 2019
Loved this! We used leftovers from Emma Laperruque's Best Cornbread recipe. Honestly this was a second attempt as the first time I made her cornbread there were NO leftovers! The kick in the dressing was perfectly offset by the sweetness of the cornbread, cool creaminess of the avocado, and rich salty fatness of the sausage. Definitely will make again!
catmudd June 29, 2017
Okay, I made this for dinner last night. It was so good that I'm making it again tonight! The dressing is spicy and the cornbread tones it right down. The combination of all the flavors is great.
tinarina October 26, 2014
How do you prepare the cornbread cubes, and how many do you need?
Kristen M. October 26, 2014
Thanks for asking, tinarina -- that step had gone missing. I just updated the recipe with toasting instructions, and the amount is 2 cups. If you're making the cornbread recipe here, you'll have plenty leftover.
Mary October 8, 2014
Whoops, I see that others had the same question. Sorry I missed the comments.
Mary October 8, 2014
What is the corn mentioned in the last step of the cornbread recipe? Do you add canned corn?
triestoeathealthy October 8, 2014
This looks great! One question--when reading through the instructions for the cornbread, it mentions adding corn. I don't see it listed with the ingredients. How much corn do you add? Thanks!
triestoeathealthy October 8, 2014
Sorry, when I wrote this comment, I wasn't able to see the other previous ones asking the same question! Thanks for the update!
Jo P. October 8, 2014
I'm looking for that corn, too, John. This recipe looks delicious!
Kristen M. October 8, 2014
Hi Jo, please see my note below -- I've updated the recipe. No corn here!
John M. October 8, 2014
In the corn bread recipe it says to add corn with the melted butter. I can find corn other than cornmeal. Am I missing something?
Kristen M. October 8, 2014
Thank you for asking -- that was an oversight and I've updated the recipe. This version was adapted from the Sam Sifton version of Schlesinger's cornbread, which calls for corn kernels as well, but that texture isn't needed here.