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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Grapefruit Fennel Salad


This crisp and refreshing salad is naturally sweet and sour. Serve it as a stand alone dish with grilled fish or, if you're serving several courses, in between heavier plates to lighten things up and refresh your palate.

Grapefruit is a good source of vitamin C and lycopene, an antioxidant with anti-cancer activity. Fennel is anti-inflammatory, promotes good digestion, and dispells intestinal gas.

This recipe makes enough salad for 1 or 2 people. If you're expecting more, increase the ingredients as needed and aim for approximately equal amounts of grapefruit segments and sliced fennel.

1 young fennel bulb
1 large grapefruit
Extra virgin olive oil, first cold pressing
Sea salt
Freshly ground peppercorn

Clean the fennel, reserving the fronds and removing the core and any tough outer layers. Thinly slice it using a mandolin or very good knife skills. (The thinner, the better.)

Cut away the grapefruit peel: Slice off enough of the stem end to find fruit underneath, repeat with the other end, and set it upright. Cut off the sides, keeping as much of the fruit intact as possible. Cut out the segments and drop them into a bowl with the fennel. Squeeze the juice out of the remaining membrane into the bowl. Do the same with any pieces of peel that has fruit still attached.

Drizzle some olive oil, sprinkle a little bit of sea salt, and grind some peppercorn into the bowl. Toss everything together and taste. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve the salad immediately if you like it crunchy or set it aside for up to an hour to allow the grapefruit juice to soften the fennel. Garnish with the reserved fennel fronds.

I like to serve this salad in bowls with spoons so I can scoop up the sauce as I eat it.

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