Fire up the grill this winter

A chef shares his favorite, warming salad.

Patrick Higgins is the executive chef at the Inns of Aurora located New York's Finger Lakes region. There, he works with local farmers and the kitchen team to prepare fresh, high-end meals for hotel guests. But recently, a career opportunity for his wife forced a temporary move—to an RV camping site. Of course, there’s a downside to being a gourmet chef in a vehicle that’s 31 feet long and just eight feet wide. As a solution to a lack of cooking space, Higgins fired up an Aussie foldable grill. "When the weather begins to cool down I love to take advantage of slow-cooked foods," he says.

Here, the resourceful chef shares his favorite cold-weather grilling recipe.

Grilled Winter Salad

Sweet potatoes are rich in fiber and vitamin A, while apples and fennel add immune-boosting vitamin C. “I like salads that aren’t mayonnaise-based, mainly because it’s different from what you see at most barbecues,” Higgins says. “Fresh, quality olive oil and citrus juice can make any ingredient shine.”

Serves 6


2 apples, halved and cored
1 fennel bulb, core removed and tops discarded
4 or 5 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus ¼ cup for dressing
1 small box arugula
4 tablespoons maple syrup
4 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 red onion, diced small
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped


Cook sweet potatoes on the grill at about 300 degrees, off of direct heat, until tender, about two hours. While potatoes are cooking, prep the fennel by cutting it lengthwise into half-inch-thick slices. Toss with ½ tablespoon olive oil and set aside.
Brush the cut sides of the apples with ½ tablespoon olive oil and set aside.
Remove potatoes from the grill and allow to cool.
Grill fennel until slightly charred, about four minutes per side, and cook apple halves, cut-side-down, until they’re warmed and have grill marks, about three minutes.
Peel sweet potatoes and dice into ½-inch cubes. Chop grilled fennel and apple into ½-inch cubes as well. Divide arugula among six plates. Toss sweet potatoes, fennel, and apple with remaining olive oil, maple syrup, vinegar, lime juice, onion, and cilantro, and season with salt and pepper.


Spoon the dressed vegetables over arugula and enjoy while warm.