This is such a wonderfully fresh salad, full of different tastes and textures: charred, spicy, herbal, naturally acidic, and crisp. I love to serve this as a palate-cleansing salad course.
Tomatillo Pecan Pesto
Prepare a grill for direct-heat cooking.
To make the tomatillo pecan pesto, place the tomatillos, Louisiana-Style Hot Sauce, garlic, parsley, cilantro, basil, cumin, salt, lime juice, and ¼ cup cold water in a blender or food processor and pulse the mixture until incorporated. Add the cheese and pulse a few more times, then add the pecan pieces and pulse just to incorporate. The pesto can be made ahead and refrigerated in a covered container for up to 3 days.
To make the salad, toss the broccoli rabe with ½ cup of the pesto and grill it over medium heat for 2 to 4 minutes, until it chars. (If you have a meshbottom grill pan, here is your chance to use it.) Once charred, cut the broccoli rabe crosswise into thirds and place in a bowl.
Meanwhile, place the celery, lemon juice, and salt in a small bowl, toss, and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes. (This is a quick-pickled celery.) Add the arugula, parsley, cilantro, and basil to the bowl with the broccoli rabe, and toss with the remaining pesto.
Divide among 8 plates. Top each salad with a sprinkling of the pickled celery, toasted pecans, and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Reprinted with permission from Smoke: New Firewood Cooking by Tim Byers. Copyright © 2013 Rizzoli Books.
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