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

By • October 7, 2014 10 Comments

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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


Serves 4, with leftover cornbread

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
  1. 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.)
  2. To make the dressing: Meanwhile, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, chiles, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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. Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly oil a 9-inch cast-iron skillet and put it in the oven to heat up.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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