Evening the Score: Grapefruit Fennel Salad

January 28, 2008

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As of yesterday’s post, the score was a depressing Grapefruit 1-Kristin 0. But you’ll be happy to learn that I resoundingly evened the score with this salad you see here. I was determined to put grapefruit to a more exciting use than breakfast-yogurt-accessory and since the sorbet route didn’t exactly work out, I began searching for more ideas.

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As I was planning the menu for a brunch Kevin and I hosted for his family yesterday morning, the great grapefruit quest aught eight was lurking in the back of my head. In the end, I could’ve gone a number of routes with it. I could’ve swapped grapefruit juice for OJ in the mimosas (I stuck with the traditional orange), served warm-from-the-oven mini grapefruit muffins as guests arrived (I opted for mini almond scones instead, also piping hot) or ended the meal with a lovely slice of simple cake infused with grapefruit glaze (instead, I jumped at the chance to bake an Ina Garten coffee cake I’ve been eying for quite some time).

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

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But it’s actually when I landed on the centerpiece for the brunch menu—a caramelized onion and gorgonzola deep-dish quiche—that the grapefruit’s role became clear. You see, I knew the quiche would be rich (I mean, “rich” might not even capture it, so I’ll repeat: caramelized onions … gorgonzola … a deeper- than-regulation tart shell). As a counter-balance to this decadence, I wanted a salad full of spicy greens, but I didn’t want it to be too boring.

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Enter grapefruit. And fennel. And whisps of shaved parmesan. All swathed in a champagne vinaigrette and showered with fresh cracked black pepper. Lovely. And the brunch was lovely too. I hope you think so too, because I’ll be sharing photos and recipes for the rest of the menu as the week goes on. I’ll leave you with a couple of photos of the table, which Mother Nature was kind enough to bathe in a gorgeous sun light for the actual brunch.

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Grapefruit-Fennel Salad

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

4 cups arugula
2 to 3 medium grapefruits, peels shaved off and segments carved out
2 medium fennel bulbs, stalks/fronds/cores removed and sliced into very thin half rings
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan

Garnish: long, thin shaves of parmesan and fresh-cracked black pepper

In the bottom of a large salad bowl, whisk the Dijon, vinegar, lemon juice and honey. Whisk in the oil. Season with salt and pepper. Top the vinaigrette with the arugula, grapefruit segments, fennel slices and grated parmesan. (Note: You can make this salad 1 to 2 hours in advance; if you do so, at this point, cover the whole thing with plastic wrap, stick it in fridge and wait to toss it until just before serving).

To serve, toss the salad, making sure to incorporate all the vinaigrette from the bottom of the bowl. Top with the shaved parmesan and black pepper.

5 Responses to “Evening the Score: Grapefruit Fennel Salad”

  1. Karina Says:

    That looks like an excellent use of grapefruit. It’s one of my favorite fruits, but I’ve never done much cooking with it. Can’t wait to see the rest of the menu, the quiche sounds divine.

  2. amanda Says:

    Your table setting looks so elegant🙂 Great place settings and metallic colors.

  3. ourkitchensink Says:

    Karina: Thanks! The quiche was indeed divine, if not a near-disaster.

    Amanda: Thank you. It was a great excuse to break out the wedding china.

  4. nicole Says:

    This salad is perfect. I ordered a case of grapefruit from a friend’s daughter for a fund raiser not thinking how much a case really is……
    I served the salad with braised duck legs and root veggies. Thanks again!


  5. nicole: That’s wonderful! Thanks for the report. (Sounds like a lovely meal, by the way.)


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