Fresh Tomato Salad with Grilled Red Onion

I had some leftover Champagne so I added it to the vinaigrette and it was fabulous. If you have no bubbly lying around, sparkling wine or white wine vinegar are good too. For best flavour, chop the tarragon at the last minute.

1 red onion, sliced into 1- inch (2.5 cm) rings
2 Tbsp (30 mL) canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
6 plum tomatoes

1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil
1/4 cup (60 mL) cider vinegar
1/4 cup (60 mL) Champagne
3 Tbsp (45 mL) finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 tsp (5 mL) Dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

The Rainford Method

1. Two hours before grilling, whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together in a bowl and add onion rings, tossing to coat. Marinate at room temperature.

2. Fire up your charcoal or preheat your gas grill. Grilling temp should be around 325 to 350ºF (160 to 180ºC). Prep the grill for cooking over direct heat.

3· Core the tomatoes then cut them lengthwise into quarters. You want large, chunky pieces for this rustic grilled salad.

4· Remove the onion rings from the vinaigrette, reserving the vinaigrette. Brush the onion rings lightly with a little canola oil and season them with salt and black pepper.

5· Place the onion rings on the grill and cook until lightly charred, 6 to 10 minutes per side on medium-high heat.

6. Remove onion rings from the grill and set aside to cool slightly. Whisk the vinaigrette until nice and thick.

7· To assemble the salad, combine the tomatoes, cooled onion rings and vinaigrette in a bowl and you’re done.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Tip: canola oil has a higher smoke paint than say, olive oil, so brushing the onion rings with canola before grilling them will prevent the onions burning. Serve this salad buffet-style or in individual salad bowls.

Rob Rainford Born to Grill cookbook coverExcerpted from Rob Rainford’s Born to Grill. Copyright © 2012 by Rob Rainford. Photographs Copyright © 2012 by Mike McColl. Excerpted by permission of Appetite by Random House, a division of Random House of Canada, Limited. All rights reserved.