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Charred Spring Onion + Sorrel Salad


Charred Spring Onion + Sorrel Salad

Tasked with bringing sides to a burger + beers night, I wanted to steer clear of the cliché accompaniments like potato salad (although I do have a winning recipe that uses hardly any mayonnaise) or baked beans. And while this was a casual affair, our host were serving burgers from Austin’s  Dai Dui butcher shop: locally sourced, grass-fed, and superior to their supermarket cousin.  

Here fresh spring onions – smoky and singed - are used tip to stem and paired with the tangy, lemony, crunch of raw sorrel. Draped with silky, extra virgin, olive oil and gently showered with lemon and parmesan shavings this salad could not be simpler so quality and freshness count.


*** I happened to be pickling vegetables for this evening, as well, so I added the radish tops to the final salad.

Serves Four 

Two to three bunches of spring onions – tips and root slightly trimmed preserving as much bulb + stalk as possible

One bunch of fresh sorrel – you may need more than one depending on the size of the bunch + how much tangy

greens you desire. ¼-1/2 cup roughly chopped /tore into pieces/chiffonade should do the trick.

Good quality parmesan cheese  

One lemon

Good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Flaked Salt – I used black for contrast but any good, natural, salt will do: Malden, Pink Himalayan, Celtic Sea, etc.


The onions can be prepared ahead of time. I did this the morning of and simply left covered in dish until assembled on site.


Cut approx. 3” pieces from bulb end of onion and split sections in half down the center lengthwise.  Section remaining green tips in to equal length sections and set aside.

You will char the bulb sections-  along with some of the greens- adding fresh greens to the final assembled salad.  

To Char onions you could use several methods such as a hot grill, under the broiler, or in my case, a very hot cast iron pan.

Heat cast iron pan over high heat until scorching hot.

Brush the halved onion bulbs with olive sides and season with salt and pepper.  Lay bulbs cut side down in pan and let sit until they begin to singe and blacken. Flip and repeat to second side.

Do these in batches as to not over crowd the pan.

The softer parts will begin to wilt and the bulb will soften. We are not looking to cook the onions through – we simply want to impart a nice char.



When all the bulb sections are charred, and resting to the side – in the same pan add handful or two of the greens and toss so that bits and pieces begin to blacken. Remove when satisfied.


When ready to serve:

Combine charred bulb sections and greens with fresh greens, sorrel and radish tops.  Grate the zest of the lemon over the greens then squeeze the juice of one half of the lemon over salad. Drizzle with olive oil and season.

Toss and taste and adjust.

Want more tang? Squeeze the juice from the remaining half of lemon and add more sorrel. Want more crunch and subtle heat?  Add additional fresh onion greens.

Grab your hunk of parmesan and shave liberally over salad, add a final sprinkling of crunchy flaked salt, and serve at room temp.


james saavedra