The Future of Salads with Grapefruit and Fennel
From Kevin Kent
This is more of an assemblage than a recipe. I’ve been told that in Greece you add the olive oil to the salad bowl before adding the vegetables. There is enough oil in the bowl that when you drop an olive in, it makes a splash. That’s a lot of oil. I like to think that you want the leaves to just glisten with oil, like the suntan-lotioned shoulder of a member of the preferred sex. In other words, not greasy, just a bit slippery.
- 1 head green leaf lettuce or some other leafy lettuce
- 1 fennel bulb
- 2 grapefruits
- splash of really tasty olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Wash, dry and chop or tear your lettuce into your favourite salad bowl.
I like this salad because you get to slice fennel – one of the most under-used vegetables in Canada – super thin with a really sharp knife, like maybe a Nakiri made by Masashi-san. Have you sliced fennel before? If not, it’s easy. First trim off the branches. Second, slice the bulb in half from top to bottom. Now, flop it on the cutting board, cut-side-down, and start slicing as thin as you can against the fibres – and I mean thin, like papery. Add the fennel to the salad bowl.
Now, you need to make grapefruit segments. I have no idea how to explain this, but you will need to get all the membrane off the grapefruit. Okay, I’ll try to explain.
Slice off each end of the graperfruit, maybe with that Konosuke Sakura 5” paring knife you have (or want), then place the end side of the grapefruit on the cutting board and slice off the sides to remove the skin and the pithy part. You will be left with the bits in-between with the membrane holding it all together. Look at the membrane and cut – with that great knife you have – on either side of the “skin” between the segments so that you separate the membrane of the fruit from the segments. Add the segments to your salad bowl then squeeze the membrane to release all the juice into the bowl.
Now, here’s the fun part – splash a bit of olive oil on the salad greens, fennel and grapefruit. Just enough for a glisten. Salt and pepper to taste. Toss your salad and give it a taste. Add more oil or salt and pepper if needed. You should have a fresh, tasty salad.