Orange and grapefruit salad with red onion, fennel and cucumber was an idea that came to me on a very hot day last summer. Jon and I wanted something cold, refreshing and light for lunch and Jon is in love with all citrus fruits. I had brought home a bunch of oranges and grapefruits that week, and the fennel, cucumber and onions were all things that were sort of laying around my vegetable bin, sadly neglected but still hoping to be used. While scrounging through the fridge for lunch, I pulled out these items and realized they wouldn’t be too bad combined. I cut the oranges and grapefruits into suprêmes (little triangular segments with all pith and peel removed). I sliced the red onion, fennel and cucumber as thinly as possible and mixed everything together with some olive oil, salt and pepper. That was the whole salad but those elements combined were, in this case, so much more than just the sum of their parts. For the bite, Jon and I took a small ring mold and layered the ingredients so that each was visible on every layer. This juicy, tangy and flavorful salad is delicious served with fish, as part of a breakfast spread, in individually sized portions as an hors d’oeuvre, or on its own as a summery lunch.
2 oranges of your choosing, suprêmed
2 pink grapefruits, suprêmed
½ hothouse cucumber, thinly sliced
½ red onion, thinly sliced
1 head fennel, core removed and thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Fennel fronds, chopped
- Start by suprêming the citrus so that it can be served in slices. Trim off the top and bottom of each citrus fruit. Set the fruit on one end. Then, remove the pith by cutting it off in strips from top to bottom, following the curve of the fruit as closely as possible so as to waste as little as possible of the flesh. Once the peel is removed, cut into the fruit to remove the membrane from each side of the segment. You should be left with membrane/pith-free triangular slices.
- Thinly slice the onions, cucumbers and fennel using a mandoline or sharp knife.
- Combine ingredients in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and serve. If you, want you can also chop some of the fennel fronds and use them as a garnish to add color and more anise flavor to the salad.
- For the bite, simply combine all ingredients as explained above and layer inside a metal ring mold, size of your choosing. Make sure each layer is even so that the salad can stand on its own once the ring is removed. Garnish with edible flowers or fennel fronds.
© 2010 Jonathan Meter and Jessica Hertle