Something For Everyone: Grilled Summer Salad

There was a photo in one of the last issues of Gourmet that haunts me to this day. In a good way. (What is the word for haunting in a good way? Word people…help, please.) You know how much I love the concept of Deconstructed Dinner? The idea of leveraging the “no-touching!” decree regularly issued by toddlers into a beautiful salad where everything is separated into individually delicious elements? Well the Gourmet photo showed a rustic platter holding about eight or nine different “stripes” of food — grilled chicken, grilled mushrooms, chick peas, radishes, greens. In other words, the most glorious Deconstructed Dinner ever constructed. I lost the issue and have had no luck finding the recipe on epicurious, but finally, a year later, Andy and I replicated the platter in our kitchen. That’s it up there. A veritable celebration of farmer’s market fabulousness. Shredded romaine, “campfire potatoes”, fresh garden peas, tiny spring onions, asparagus, chicken, and some homemade pesto drizzled on top. (Storebought will do, too.)

The only “stripe” on the platter that wasn’t prepared on the grill was the one made of orange-thyme roasted carrots — which is a big fave with the girls. I think this is probably because the recipe only really works with the small, tender, sweet carrots from the farmer’s market that resemble the kind Bugs Bunny walks around with. (Try saying “What’s up Doc?” while holding a nubby little baby carrot. So incredibly depressing.) To make: Chop off most of the carrot stems, rinse slightly (no need to peel if you rinse well), and slice them horizontally as shown. Toss with olive oil and some fresh thyme leaves and roast in a baking dish in a 425°F oven for about 15-20 minutes until tender. Halve an orange and roast alongside the carrots. (This concentrates its juices.) When the carrots are finished, squeeze about a tablespoon of orange juice all over them.

This was my plate. (That’s a lemon, grilled for about 5 minutes and squeezed over entire dinner.) I wish I thought to take a picture of the girls’ plates, each of which looked different but delicious. Except for maybe that big dollop of ketchup on Abby’s plate. What can you do?

PS: This would be a nice choice for a Fourth of July BBQ.

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I woke up today wondering what the hell I was going to take to the Canada Day potluck I have on the agenda. This is it! Thanks! Great post.


“stir”? for haunt in a good way? (bonus: fits into DALS’s theme!)

Jan@Family Bites

Really looks wonderful. We do this with salads in order to get my boys to eat them. Strips of lettuce, cucumber, grated carrot, chopped egg, red pepper, tomato, cheese and croutons fill a platter. They can pick what they like from the platter to assemble their own salad as there is no way I could make one salad that would please everyone. Dressing is on the side and optional as one child feels it’s not a required item.


I think “haunts” is a perfectly good positive word! What you’re looking for is something like “evocative” only a verb, and “evoke” doesn’t work because you need it to evoke “something”! Anyway, I adore this post, and I love dinners like this. My latest was “everything on a lettuce leaf,” which involved a platter of roasted chicken strips, red pepper, chives, cucumber, cilantro, a dish of pine nuts and lots of sauces: as your child says, optional because my daughter will not eat sauces!

Build your own, what a good philosophy. Thanks for a lovely blog!


Looks yummy! Grill + veggies = success. PS: I read your newsletter, do I win the wine?

Tiffany Di Nieri

I have been wanting to make something like this, I am definitely trying this weekend, looks delicious! Ps, I read your newsletter, do I win the wine?