Author Notes: Escarole was a traditional summer green in my mamma's garden and kitchen, and is commonly found in Italian cuisine. Its bitterness makes it less popular in the U.S., but grilling it adds a sweet char and makes a perfect bed for this luxurious Smoked Cherry Sauce (which you'll be licking out of the pan). Start the fire about 45 minutes before you begin to cook - you will want the wood or coals to burn steadily at medium heat (i.e. without flames licking the food on high). Arrange the logs to create a flat surface to land a grill grate, and have a thick towel (or fireproof mitts) and coasters ready to handle your cast iron skillet. —Emma Frisch
Grilled Escarole Salad
bunch Escarole head, halved
cup Walnuts, toasted
cup Goat cheese, crumbled
Smoked Cherry Sauce
tablespoons Shallots, minced
cup Cherry liquor or ruby port
tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
pint Cherries, pitted
- Place the escarole on the grill. Char and wilt the leaves on both sides. Transfer to a serving plate.
- Top the grilled escarole with the toasted walnuts and goat cheese.
- Place a small or medium cast iron skillet on the grill grate to heat. Have all your sauce ingredients ready - you will want to move fast!
- Add the butter. When it foams, add the shallots and cook until they begin to brown.
- Add the cherry liqueur and balsamic vinegar. Allow the sauce to simmer and reduce slightly.
- Add the cherries and gently smash with the back of a spoon. When the cherries break down, add the thyme.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and pour the sauce over the grilled escarole.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe Cooked Over a Fire