Ember-roasted onions are great on their own, mashed into sour cream, pureed into dips, or used in any number of other ways. They’re put to good use in this pretty salad, where the escarole is a supporting player to the onions, rather than vice versa. The escarole is sturdy enough that this salad can be made up to a couple hours in advance.
- 4 small unpeeled red onions
- 1 bunch thyme
- Juice of 2 limes (about 1/4 cup)
- 1/4 cup oil
- Salt, for seasoning
- 1 head escarole
- Honey, to taste
Wipe the grill grates with oil to prevent sticking. Build a two-zone fire. Your high-heat zone should have embers 1–2 inches from the cooking surface, with occasional flames licking it. To create your medium-heat zone, nudge the embers 2–3 inches lower than that.
Place the onions in the embers and cook, turning occasionally, until they can be easily pierced with a sharp knife, about 30 minutes. Transfer with tongs to a bowl. When the onions are cool enough to handle, squeeze them from their skins, keeping any juices in the bowl, then separate into “petals.”
Place the thyme over high heat just until charred and fragrant (this will only take a few seconds). Remove from the heat, strip the leaves from the stems, and add them to the bowl. Add the lime juice and oil and season with salt. Set aside.
Place the escarole over high heat and cook just until the edges are charred but the inside leaves are still crisp, about 1 minute per side. Remove from heat and tear the leaves roughly into the bowl. Toss the salad, add more salt and/or honey, if needed, and serve.
Recipe reprinted with permission from “The Outdoor Kitchen” by Eric Werner, copyright 2020. Photographs by Gentl and Hyers. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc.