Back Pocket Recipe: Charred Vegetable Salad for Summer from Chef Daniel DiStefano
We all have recipes that we keep coming back to. They’re the ones we lean on for dinner parties or potlucks. The ones we make when we aren’t feeling ambitious, but still want impressive results. We make them over and over again and always get rave reviews. At OXO, we like to call them our Back Pocket Recipes.
These recipes are too good not to share, and that’s what inspired us to start collecting them. So we’re getting back pocket recipes from our favorite chefs, influencers, cookbook authors and OXOnians, so you too can have a Back Pocket Recipe to rely on.
Daniel DiStefano, Executive Chef of Made Nice, a counter service restaurant in New York City that serves delicious and approachable food, leans on an ingredient-driven simple salad making the most of the produce available in the summertime. Here’s how his Charred Vegetable Salad comes together:
Charred Vegetable Salad (Summer)
2 zucchini, whole
2 yellow squash, whole
1 red onion (large), cut in half
2 yellow corn, shucked
1 red bell pepper, whole
1 yellow bell pepper, whole
¼ cup scallion, sliced
¼ cup parsley, chopped
¼ cup mint, chopped
¼ cup sherry vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
Kosher salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
First, light the grill (or preheat whatever you’ll be using to char your vegetables). The best part about this recipe is that it takes little to no preparation, if the grill is hot, you’re ready to go. The ingredients are less important than understanding the method. Once you understand the method, you can make this salad with any variety of vegetables.
The key to charring vegetables is to control your heat. This is best done by having the coals pushed to one side of the grill, creating direct and indirect heat. Place the vegetables on the direct heat for about two to three minutes per side. Using tongs, rotate the vegetables until there is even caramelization on all sides. Once the vegetables have enough char (to your taste) remove from direct heat and continue cooking over indirect heat for 4-10 minutes. Alternatively, you can finish in the oven if you prefer. Once tender, remove the vegetables from heat.
Cut the corn kernels off the cob over a mixing bowl. Slice the zucchini and squash down the middle lengthwise and then into ¼-in thick half-moons. Cut the bell peppers in half and discard the seeds and stem. Slice the bell peppers and red onion and combine with the rest of the vegetables. Add the chopped herbs, vinegar, olive oil and season to taste with salt and cracked black pepper. Toss to combine.
This salad is simple, seasonal and a crowd pleaser. Once you get the hang of it, it can be made with just about any vegetable you have on hand.
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