It’s that time of year when we feel compelled to make ridiculous resolutions that last minutes. Many of these failed vows go under the lose weight/eat better/exercise more column. Health clubs must positively beam when they see the queue of guilty folk lining up to buy a gym membership come January.
It’s understandable. Yes, we overindulged during the Christmas holidays. Yes, we ate and drank ourselves into a stupor. No, we didn’t need those last 12 mince pies. But is all this self-flagellation with a spiralised courgette really necessary? Isn’t one of the joys of Christmas that we do go a bit over the top?
Besides, January has enough things going against it already. It gets dark so early that I’m ready for bed right after lunch. The credit card bills come in for all those presents we so generously gave and there’s not another holiday until Easter. It’s all depressing, so do we really need to impose draconian dietary restrictions as well?
Yes, let’s eat lighter in January but because it tastes good and not because of some silly diet. Yes, let’s eat more vegetables but because they’re delicious and get us thinking of spring and other happy things. Let’s use January as a golden opportunity to try new things, new flavours and combinations.
For me, that’s what this salad is about. It’s full of bright colours and fresh flavours and lots of things that wake my taste buds up. It’s not penance; it’s pleasure and I think that’s something we should celebrate all year round.
Winter salad of pink grapefruit, fennel & radicchio
You’ll want equal amounts of radicchio and fennel. I’ve used a lovely Italian radicchio with long, curling leaves but regular radicchio would be fine as well. If possible, select fennel with some of the green fronds attached – these are lovely chopped finely and used as a garnish.
1 pink grapefruit
150g fennel (about half of a large head)
1 tsp honey
Salt and pepper
Micro herbs to garnish (optional)
Grate a bit of the lovely reddish-pink skin of the grapefruit and set aside to use later to garnish the salad. Place the grapefruit on the cutting board and take a slice off both ends so it can stand securely on your board. Take your knife and slice away the skin – making a curved cutting motion so that you follow the contours of the fruit. You want to remove all of the skin and pith but leave as much of the flesh intact as possible.
Now cut out the individual grapefruit segments. Make a v-shaped cut to remove one segment at a time. Do this over a measuring jug so you collect any juice. Place the segments on a plate and set aside. Take the remaining membrane and squeeze it over the jug to release as much juice as possible.
Check how much juice you have (I get 40-50ml from a juicy grapefruit) and add an equal amount of olive oil and the honey. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Taste – it should be sharp and sweet but if it feels too sour add a bit more olive oil but remember you want this to be zesty. Set the dressing aside.
Break apart the radicchio leaves, wash and dry them. Place them in your serving bowl or dish. Slice the fennel thinly, making sure you remove the woody core at the base of the bulb first. If there are any fronds, chop those up for garnish.
Top the radicchio with the fennel then with the grapefruit segments. Lightly dress with the grapefruit vinaigrette. Garnish with a bit of the grated grapefruit skin, chopped fennel fronds and micro herbs (if using). Serve with the rest of the dressing on the side.
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