Summer’s here! The weather is great and the days are long. What does that mean? It’s time to fire up the grill and get together with family and friends for a cookout!
I don’t know about you but I’m always curious about what I can throw on the grill apart from the usual suspects. As someone on a mostly plant-based diet, I have the urge to populate the grill with colorful vegetables and watch them get beautifully licked by the fire.
“Will it grill?” is a question I often ask, and after a few tries, I’m convinced that vegetarians and vegans can have just as good a time during barbecue season and be adequately fed. Yes! Believe me, your meat-loving friends will want some of those wonderfully charred vegetables too.
This salad is a delicious example. It’s simple yet big in flavors, and features corn, a much-loved staple in any BBQ cookout. So if you’re grilling corn anyway, you just need two more ingredients on the grill to assemble this quick and easy salad that will make a great side dish.
Guys, let me tell you something: grilled orange is super tasty! The smoky citrus tang of grilled orange pieces really takes this salad up a notch. It adds such a fruity and refreshing twist, not to mention a nice burst of color. Plus, it’s also a clever way to sneak some fruit into a meal.
Grilling an orange is easy and takes no time. Make sure the slices are not too thin so you get good bites, and grill both sides until you see those gorgeous grill marks. Voila, you have something quite special.
Now, let’s talk about fennel. I know the strong anise aroma may put some of you off, but the flavor becomes mellower and even sweeter when fennel is cooked. You’d be surprised at how palatable fennel gets with a little charring from the grill.
For easy grilling, remember to slice fennel lengthwise with the core attached to get pieces that are big enough to sit on the grill. Then slice them smaller for the salad later. Fennel gets softer when cooked and you can remove the core to make it less chewy. The charred parts deliver a nice crunchy contrast.
The elegant taste of grilled fennel paired with grilled corn and orange tossed in zesty orange-Dijon mustard vinaigrette is a winning combination that will surely impress. It may even convert some fennel skeptics into fans. I mean, we want to grill to impress, right?
- 2 ears corn on the cob, husks and silk removed
- 2 bulbs fennel
- 1 orange
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- Juice of 1 orange
- Zest of ½ orange
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- To make the dressing, whisk together orange juice, orange zest, Dijon mustard and extra virgin olive oil in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Brush the corn with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the corn over a medium-hot grill and cook until it is slightly charred, turning occasionally, about 15 minutes.
- Slice fennel lengthwise, with the core attached, into ½-inch thick slices. Brush it with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the fennel over a medium-hot grill and cook until it is slightly softened and charred, about 5 to 6 minutes on each side.
- Slice the stem ends off the orange and then slice them crosswise into ½-inch thick slices. Place the orange slices over a medium-hot grill and cook until they develop light grill marks, about 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully flip the orange slices and let the other side cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.
- Remove the corn, fennel, and orange slices from the grill. Slice the corn off the cob. Cut the fennel into smaller slices lengthwise, and discard the core if you want it to be less chewy. Cut around the orange slices to remove the rind; it's okay to leave some on for flavor.
- In a large bowl, toss together corn, fennel, and orange with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper and top with chopped cilantro to serve. Enjoy!