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Grilled Red Onion Salad with Parmesan Cheese and Sage

I am constantly amazed after all my years of cooking at how there can be anything new – but there always is, again and again. This is an example, utterly simple, yet quite unlike any other salad. If rocket leaves are unavailable, flat-leaf parsley with lamb's lettuce is a good substitute.

 Grilled Red Onion Salad with Parmesan Cheese and Sage

  Serves 4

 4 very large (or 6 large) red onions
 75g / 3oz mixed salad leaves with rocket
 6-7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
 75g / 3oz Parmesan or parmesan-style cheese
 12-18 sage leaves
 juice 1 large lemon
 Preheat the grill to its highest setting.
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A grill pan lined with foil with a grill rack on top.

This recipe is taken from Delia Smith's Summer Collection


First of all, don't peel the onions: simply trim off the root and top before cutting each one across into three or four slices about 2 cm/¾ inch thick. Keeping the slices whole, transfer them to the grill rack (you might have to do this in two batches, depending on the size of your grill), then brush them with oil and season them. Now position the grill pan so that the onion slices are about 10cm/4 inches from the heat and grill for 7 or 8 minutes until the onions are browned – indeed within a whisker of being blackened.

While that's happening, prepare the Parmesan by shaving it into wafer-thin pieces with a potato peeler. For the onions the next stage needs a little care: use a palette knife to turn the slices over so that they don't break up into their constituent rings. Repeat the same oiling, seasoning and grilling on the other side, for 3 - 4 minutes then top each slice of onion with a sage leave dipped on oil and grill for a further 5 minutes to allow the sage leaves to crisp then remove from the heat and discard the outside layers and any parts of the onion slices that are too blackened or chewy to eat and leave the onions on one side to cool.

Toss some green salad leaves in a dressing made by combining some oil and lemon juice and arrange the leaves on a serving dish. Arrange the onions on top, sprinkle with some more olive oil and lemon dressing and finally sprinkle over the parmesan shavings. Serve at room temperature.


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