Today's Special: Miami Recipes

Grilled greens go the extra mile in flavor and texture

Bok choy: With fresh ginger-soy sauce.
Bok choy: With fresh ginger-soy sauce. Running Press

The first time I recall seeing greens cooked on an outdoor grill was in a cooking class several years ago.

The chef cut Little Gem lettuce heads in half (they look like tiny versions of Romaine lettuce, with a crisp, crunchy texture and a sweet flavor), drizzled some olive oil over the cut side and placed the lettuce cut-side down on the grill.

He cooked them for about three to four minutes or until the outside had browned and the leaves had just started to wilt. He removed them from the grill, squeezed a little lemon juice over the lettuce, and added a final sprinkle of salt and freshly ground pepper. It was simple and delicious and it took no more than five minutes.

After that experience grilled greens became part of my cooking repertoire. Occasionally, I’ll sprinkle them with some thinly sliced radish or a few capers, a bit of lemon-shallot vinaigrette, and a dusting of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

I try to stick with varieties that can be cut into wedges with the core still intact, to make sure the greens hold together on the grill. A grill basket or a sheet of foil will hold greens that would otherwise slip between the grates.

Lay large greens like collards or kale across the grill grates so they don’t fall through, and be ready to turn them several times during cooking since they char in about two minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Remove thick ribs and stems from greens if desired. Tear large leaves into pieces before dressing with a vinaigrette.

Good choices are Romaine, radicchio, endive, iceberg, kale, Swiss chard, scallions, and even brussels sprouts. A touch of smoky flavored Romaine takes the familiar combination of Romaine, Parmigiano, anchovies and lemon of a Caesar salad to a whole new level.

Cut heart of Romaine lengthwise in quarters with the core intact. Place on baking sheet and toss with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place cut side down on hot grill and cook for one to two minutes per side. Place cooked romaine on serving plates and drizzle with favorite Caesar salad dressing and top with anchovies, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and croutons.

Like a traditional Caesar, it’s a great light meal with grilled chicken.

Carole Kotkin is manager of the Ocean Reef Club Cooking School and co-host of Food and Wine Talk on southfloridagourmet.com.

Grilled Radicchio and Brussels Sprouts with Hot Bacon Dressing

1 pound (about 20) brussels sprouts, halved, rinsed and patted dry

Olive oil, for brushing

2 heads radicchio, halved, rinsed and patted dry

1 red onion, cut into 1/4-inch slivers

2 ounces crumbled cheese like feta, blue or goat

Hot bacon dressing (see note)

Prepare a hot fire on one side of your grill for indirect cooking. Place the brussels sprouts in a large bowl and lightly drizzle with olive oil and toss. Place the sprouts in an oiled grill basket or grill wok. Set it on a baking tray. Lightly brush the cut sides of the radicchio with olive oil and set on the baking tray, too, and take out to the grill.

Set the grill basket filled with brussels sprouts directly over the fire. Toss the sprouts every few minutes and grill until they are tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 to 15 minutes, then move the basket of sprouts to the indirect side of the grill. Place the radicchio, cut-side down, over direct heat and grill until you have good grill marks, about 4 minutes.

To serve, arrange the radicchio and sprouts on a platter. Sprinkle with the onion and cheese, then spoon the hot bacon dressing over all. Serve at once. Serves 4.

Note: To make the dressing, chop and fry four slices of thick-cut bacon in a skillet until crisp, then add 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and 3 tablespoons water to the pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, then add 1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon each white pepper and celery seed, stirring for about 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves.

Wine: Try a nicely chilled rosé wine from Cariñena, Spain, with this dish. Beso de Vino Garnacha Rosado 2014 ($10) has just the right amount of sweetness on the palate to complement the bitterness of charred brussels sprouts, as well as the bacon vinaigrette. And ’tis the season for rosé!

Per serving: 172 calories (34 percent from fat), 6.8 g fat (2.9 g saturated, 1.6 g monounsaturated), 19.2 mg cholesterol, 9.8 g protein, 20.3 g carbohydrate, 5.4 g fiber, 971 mg sodium.

Source: Adapted from “The Gardener and the Grill” by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig (Running Press, $20).

Grilled Baby Bok Choy with Fresh Ginger-Soy Sauce

2 small heads bok choy, trimmed and halved lengthwise

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

Prepare a medium-hot fire in your grill. Rinse the bok choy, drain well and pat dry. To make the Ginger-Soy Sauce, whisk together the melted butter, olive oil, soy sauce, ginger and garlic.

Brush the bok choy with the sauce and place cut side down directly over the fire. Grill for about 10 minutes. Baste the leaves and turn, continuing to grill for about another 10 minutes until the bok choy is fork-tender. Serve with any remaining sauce. Serves 4.

Per serving: 125 calories (80 percent from fat), 11.8 g fat (7.3 g saturated, 3.0 g monounsaturated), 30 mg cholesterol, 3.0 g protein, 3.6 g carbohydrate, 1.8 g fiber, 225 mg sodium.

Source: Adapted from “The Gardener and the Grill” by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig (Running Press, $20).

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