Asparagus, Fennel & Grapefruit Salad

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I made this delicious salad, riffing off a delicious sounding salad in the Italian Diabetes Cookbook by Amy Riolo. Her recipe served six and include oranges to which I am allergic. I miss oranges terribly as they were one of my favorite fruits and I loved citrus-based cleansers. I guess I must have already eaten my lifetime allotment of oranges because all of sudden about 10 years ago, I became terribly allergic to them. So for me, I often substitute grapefruit which oddly enough I can still eat. It’s not the same, it is not nearly so sweet, but it’s in the ballpark. And sometimes, I think it is probably even more delicious precisely because it is less sweet.

The thing to remember about cooking is that it’s like jazz while baking is like classical music. When you cook, you can extemporize. Don’t have an ingredient, use something else. Use your instincts and your taste buds. Her recipe also called for fresh parsley and I did not have any. I used the fennel fronds instead just for the color. Parsley would have been a good addition and I will make this again with parsley, but it still made a delicious salad. In fact, that I can mess around with the original recipe here and there is proof, in my opinion, of the soundness of the foundation recipe. Good recipes can tolerate a lot of fiddling.

  • 3 asparagus spears, lightly boiled or heated on low for a few minutes in microwave, until tender
  • 1/4 cup of thinly sliced and chopped fennel
  • 1/2 grapefruit supremed (cut segments out)
  • 4 black olives, cut in half
  • 1 tbsp of fennel fronds

Mix together in a bowl, squeeze the juice out of the leftover grapefruit, add 2 tsps of olive oil, a splash of rice vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.

This was light, flavorful and satisfying. The olives were a surprisingly good addition, adding a satisfying bit of fattiness to the very light meal. I have loved green olives and grapefruit in salads. I thought black olives would be too mild, but they are a surprisingly good match. Asparagus is mild, which makes it a great foundation for strong flavors like fennel and grapefruit. Crunchy, light, flavorful, what more can I ask?

 

Grapefruit & Fennel Salad with Grapefruit Balsamic Vinaigrette

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  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Fennel
  • Yellow Onion
  • Green Olives
  • Grapefruit
  • Asiago Cheese (or Parmesan)
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Tajín

Make dressing first. Zest a whole grapefruit, Add 3 TBSP balsamic vinegar, 1/4 tsp sugar, 1 TBSP olive oil, 1 TBSP white wine vinegar, salt and pepper. This makes enough for three salads.

Chop six leaves of romaine lettuce and layer on the bottom of a platter. Thinly slice about 1/4 cup of fennel bulb. Dice up about 2 TBSPs of onion. Supreme half a grapefruit and layer six segments on the salad. Toss about eight olives on top. Shave a few pieces of asiago or parmesan cheese on top. I sprinkled with a bit of tajín on top to add a bit of heat and zest.

This salad is delicious. The olives and asiago add a bit of fatty creaminess to balance the astringency of the grapefruit and vinaigrette. The onions and fennel add sweetness and bite, balancing each other and the lettuce makes a solid foundation to marry all these flavors together harmoniously. It was a nearly perfect salad, I just should have made a little bit more.

 

Grapefruit & Asparagus Salad

Grapefruit & Asparagus Salad

This was a delicious and easy salad for lunch. I started by making my dressing first, a grapefruit zest- infused balsamic vinegar and oil. I made it first because I wanted the zest to soak into the balsamic vinegar and enhance its flavor.

  • 1 grapefruit (and its zest)
  • 1/4 small yellow onion
  • 12 asparagus spears (thin)
  • 12 almonds (toasted)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/4 cupbalsamic vinegar
  • 3 TBSP olive oil

First, zest the grapefruit until you have 2 TBSP of grapefruit zest. Add it in a small container that seals to 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar. Let rest for 10 minutes or until you are done making your salad. Add 3 TBSP of olive oil, salt, and pepper. It makes enough for 3 salads, so you will want the container to seal so it can be saved.

Put a dozen almonds in  a dry pan on medium high heat so they toast. Keep an eye on them so they don’t turn too dark. You don’t want them to turn bitter.

Using a vegetable peeler, slice thin strips off the asparagus so you have a nice deep bed of asparagus strips for the base of your salad.

Cut the ends, the peel and the pith off the grapefruit and carefully remove the segments from the skin. Cut them in half, and toss on the asparagus.

Cut your onion in half lengthwise. Take half and cut it in half again. Cut off both ends and slice thinly, separating the slices into thin strips.  Toss into the salad.

Chop the almonds and toss them on top. Shake the dressing to mix the file and vinegar and toss on the salad. Mix lightly and serve.

If you want to add cheese, you could add thin strips of parmesan, but it really did not need it.

 

Grapefruit & Olive Salad with Feta & Tajín

DSCN6306.pngThis is a quick, easy breakfast with a complex and satisfying flavor.

So the first thing I did was supreme a grapefruit. This is simple, cut the ends off the grapefruit and then cut away the peel, with the knife slice along the inside of the segments so the grapefruit so you have as much of the grapefruit flesh as possible.

I took about 8 olives or so and sliced them in half, tossed in a bit of feta. Then I added some salt and pepper and a dash of Tajín, a delicious Mexican spice blend of chiles, dried limes and sea salt.

It makes one serving, takes less than five minutes and is a fresh, lively breakfast dish.

Bulgur with Celery, Grapefruit, Pomegranate, Spinach, Feta and Grapefruit Onion Vinaigrette

Couscous Salad with Grapefruit Onion Vinaigrette

I made some bulgur while I made my morning tea, adding two cups of boiling water to 1 cup of bulgur and leaving it io absorb the liquid. It was tender and ready for salad later in the day when I was making lunch.

I started by cutting the flesh from a grapefruit. To supreme a grapefruit, cut away the peel and then slice the wedges. I cut this on cutting board to capture all the grapefruit juice that gets squeezed out in the process no matter how hard you try to avoid it. I cut the wedges to avoid any skin and pith and then tossed the juice on the cutting board and the skin and grapefruit left on the skin when cutting wedges into a sauce pan to flavor a vinaigrette. I added about 3 TBSP of chopped onions and cooked them with a bit of olive oil and the grapefruit remnants. I added about 2 tsp of sugar and some white wine vinegar. The vinaigrette was tart and sweet and delicious. I removed the grapefruit bits and left the onions.

I added the grapefruit segments from the grapefruit plus thinly sliced pieces from two stalks of celery, about 1/4 cup of pomegranate, 2 cups of chopped spinach, 1 cup of chopped cilantro, 6 toasted and chopped almonds and 1/4 cup of feta. I then added the bulgur and the vinaigrette and let the flavors marry for about an hour before serving.

The bulgur have it a hearty foundation and the grapefruit and pomegranate added a nice light sourness. The vinaigrette was slightly sweet. The salad was a rich combination of flavors. The next time I make it, though, I might try added some dried cherries, too. Makes 4 servings.

Kale & Grapefruit Salad

kale and grapefruit salad

I used a small bunch of lacinato kale, washed, removed the stems and chopped the leaves. This made about 8 cups of chopped kale. I added 1 TBSP of olive oil, 1 tsp of kosher salt and 1 inch of fresh ginger, grated. With my hand, I massaged the oil into the kale, softening the leaves.

With a knife, I supremed a grapefruit, cutting off the ends and the peel and pith. Then I used the knife to cut the flesh off in segments between the skin. I tossed the grapefruit into the salad.

I then added 2 TBSP of mango nectar and 2 TBSP of 100% cranberry juice (unsweetened). I put a lid on the container and shook it to distribute everything evenly and let it set in the fridge for an hour.

When serving, I added a bit of pepper on top. It’s a delicious tart and sweet salad with a hearty kale foundation. The ginger adds heat to balance the sweet mango.

Cucumber, Pea Shoots, Grapefruit Salad

Pea Shoots, Cucumbers & Grapefruit

Is there anything better than a big bunch of pea shoots in the spring? This one bunch has been enough for seven meals. Four salads, two meals of soup and I have some left for salad tomorrow. Yum!

For today, I chopped up the tops of the pea shoots (I used all the bottoms in the soup yesterday) and scattered them on a plate. I put some almonds in a dry pan on high heat and let them toast while I prepared the rest of the salad. Then I peeled half a cucumber and after it was peeled, continued with the peeler to slice off thin slice after slice and scattered them on the pea shoots. Then I supremed one grapefruit and spread it around the outside. I chopped the toasted almonds and tossed them on top. Adding some salt and pepper, I sprinkled some balsamic vinegar on top as well as a bit of walnut oil and served.

I love the mix of hearty toasted almonds, the light cucumber, the tangy sweet grapefruit and the hearty pea shoots all harmonized by the balsamic vinegar and oil. It was a delicious and light supper for a hot day.

 

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Grapefruit & Red Onions

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Grapefruit and Red Onion

I made a larger than usual batch of salad yesterday, wanting to use my brussels sprouts before they turned. I used about 4 cups of brussels spouts, cutting off the ends and cleaning them before slicing them thinly and stirring them up so they break apart into thin shreds.

To that, I added 1 cup of chopped red onion and the segments of 2 grapefruits I supremed. I also squeezed the juice of 1 lemon into the salad. Then I added some salt and a couple dashes of cayenne. The cool thing about cayenne is though it can be dangerously hot, with citrus it can develop a wonderful sweet heat that is pure magic. Normally I would add a TBSP of walnut oil or olive oil to help the citrus and cayenne dressing cling to the veggies better, but I opted to leave it out for a sharper flavor. If you want the salad to be a little more mellow, just add a bit of oil.

This made about 10 servings, so I will have some luscious salad for a while.

 

Red Cabbage Slaw with Grapefruit

Red Cabbage Slaw with Grapefruit

I was talking with my best friend about how much I like the combination of grapefruit and anise seed that I used in the salad the day before and speculated that it could be tasty with just about anything. We were talking about different options and it occurred to me that a cabbage slaw might be delicious. She thought brining the cabbage might work really well, but I decided for something simpler and crunchier. I hope she tries her own flavor combo. If she does and she shares, I will tell you how it goes.

For this, I shredded about 1/4 of large head of red cabbage. This was about 8 cups or so of shredded cabbage. I sprinkled salt on it, stirred and let it set for a few hours. Then I drained the liquid from the cabbage. This softens the cabbage and removes a lot of liquid so that it holds up better.

I then added 1 small red onion, sliced thin on a mandolin and chopped into smaller pieces. I loved the color combo with the cabbage. The onion is white with pruple while the cabbage is purple with white. They look beautiful together. I added 2 small carrots, shredded and 2 tsp of anise seed, 1 TBSP of olive oil and 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar. I mixed it all well together and let sit for 30 minutes to marry.

I supremed a grapefruit, removing all pith, skin and peel. I squeezed all the juice out of the skin remnants and stirred it in, then sliced the segments into thirds and tossed lightly.

This makes a very pretty salad that is light and crunchy with a subtle citrus flavor balanced with sweetness of anise seed and the heartiness of carrots and cabbage and the tang of red onions. It’s a burst of flavor in your mouth and will only improve for tomorrow and the next day. This made 8 servings of salad, but it keeps beautifully.

Brussels Sprouts and Grapefruit Salad with Red Onions and Mint

Brussels Sprouts & Grapefruit Salad

 

This was a quick and easy 15 minute salad. I put 1 TBSP of olive oil on medium heat in a sauté pan and added 1 tsp of anise seed and a pinch of cardamom. While they heated I chopped two tbsp of red onions and 10 brussels sprouts. I added them to the oil once the air was perfumed by the spices and turned the heat down to just below medium.

While they were cooking, I chopped up 2 tbsp of fresh mint into small pieces and supremed a grapefruit. To supreme a grapefruit, cut off the top and bottom and slice away the peel so you remove all the skin. Then using a sharp knife, cut out the segments so there is no skin attached. When I was done, I tossed in the mint and squeezed all the juice out of the leftover center and skin of the grapefruit into the pan, stirring lightly.

You only want to warm the vegetables so they are not too crunchy, but are still toothsome. After removing from the heat, I added the grapefruit segments and stirred, adding just a touch of salt.

If there were ever flavors meant to be together, they are anise seed, mint and grapefruit. Candy manufacturers could make some hard candy sucker with their flavor. The brussels sprout and red onion add just enough bite and earthiness to balance that rich, perfumed sweetness of the grapefruit. Yum! Makes one large salad, or two small side salads.