Yield
Serves 8

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

  • 4 tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon Louisiana-Style Hot Sauce
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped

Salad

  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, ends trimmed
  • 1 celery stalk, peeled of long fibers and thinly sliced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups packed arugula
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano

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 1/4 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 1/2 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.