Chefs' Recipes

Automata’s radicchio salad with blistered grapes, shallot and za’atar

Upgrade your autumn salad with this winning recipe from Sydney restaurant Automata.

By Clayton Wells
  • 45 mins preparation
  • 5 mins cooking
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Automata’s radicchio salad with blistered grapes, shallot and za’atar
"I blister the grapes in a very hot pan and squash them at the same time," says Wells. "The juices release and caramelise and form the base for the dressing. Za'atar is one of my favourite spice mixes - I use it in sweet and savoury dishes."


  • 3 banana shallots, thinly sliced into rounds (see note)
  • 500 gm seedless red grapes
  • 80 ml extra-virgin olive oil (1/3 cup)
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tbsp za'atar
  • 2 heads radicchio, leaves separated and torn
  • 1 bunch chives, cut into batons


  • 1
    Cover shallots with cold water in a bowl, soak for 10 minutes, then drain and repeat twice more. Drain well.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over high heat until smoking hot and add the grapes. Take a round heatproof tray, slightly smaller than the diameter of the frying pan, place on top of grapes and press down to squash the grapes, allowing the juice to seep out and caramelise in the pan for about 30 seconds. Remove the tray, turn the grapes over and repeat, then transfer to a bowl. Add olive oil, lemon juice and za'atar, season with sea salt flakes, and toss together while still warm. Mix in radicchio, chives and shallot and serve.


Note Banana shallots are available from select greengrocers. If they're unavailable, substitute large golden shallots. Drink suggestion by Clayton Wells & Abby Meinke