Grilled Greens

" The quality of the final dish will never surpass the quality of the original ingredients” (Me, just now).

The first “old school” chef I apprenticed with motivated me out of fear, not pride. My mantra back then was, “Please don’t mess up, please don’t mess up, please don’t mess up….” Let’s face it, I was pretty inept. It was only after months in the weeds that I began to feel even the slightest ept.

I asked him what books I should check out from the library (when Amazon was still just a river). “Books? When I was in recruit depot the guys that cold swim were sent to the side of the pool and those that couldn’t had to jump in the deep end.”

Keep in mind a recipe is simply a list of ingredients with a particular set of directions on how to assemble. If you understand, and are comfortable with the particular methods and techniques involved you may then substitute ingredients according to your own likes and dislikes.

Starting with this post I want to put less emphasis on individual recipes, and focus on the skills and mindset necessary to make you a better cook. Not only will you start to think out of the box, but the box will be broken down and placed in the recycling bin. Forget about messing up. Your mantra for now on is “flavor, color, texture”.

  • 2 hearts of romaine 
  • 3 Belgium endive
  • 2 heads radicchio
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 bunch flat Italian parsley
  • Coarse cracked black pepper


Over high heat, preheat grill or stovetop grill pan. 

Cut the romaine, Belgium endive, and radicchio in half lengthwise. Remove any outside leaves that are loosely hanging or discolored.

Cut lemon into quarters widthwise.

Roughly chop Italian parsley, or pick whole leaves from stems.

Place greens cut side down on hot grill for 3 minutes. When there is good color from grill marks, flip over for another minute or so. 

Repeat process for lemon quarters.

Place grilled greens in a large covered metal bowl. When all greens are in bowl gently toss with parsley and cracked black pepper.

Arrange greens on platter and garnish with grilled lemons. Sqeeze lemons on greens for service.

Serve with oil free dressing and homemade made crackers;)

Next post: Basic knife skills