Fennel grapefruit summer salad

Summer salads want to be light and refreshing, especially when paired with heavier BBQs or beer gardens :-) This salad is light, yet still filling because of the broad beans. They provide some filling substance other than just leafy greens. Feel free to improvise and use different kinds of lettuce, slice up some orange in case you don't have any grapefruit, and use French beans or sugar snap peas instead of broad beans.

The dressing is a winner! I love it with most of my salads in the summer, especially when I can use my lemons from my own tree. Now before I lived in heaven, I used to live in downtown Shanghai. No fresh lemon trees anywhere to be seen. In that case, regular lemons (not even organic ones!) had to do the trick. However, regular lemons are usually waxed to preserve their freshness. The wax can trap pesticides and other toxins (just think of all the people who have touched your lemons before you brought them home... yeah disgusting!), so you definitely don't want to eat that. What to do? My simple trick I learnt years and years ago from a German chef: first, rub the lemon with oil - coconut oil on a bit of kitchen towel paper works well here. Then scrub it with soap and a vegetable brush. Finally give it a little bath in a mixture of warm water and 1 Tbsp vinegar ( I use apple cider vinegar). Then rinse with regular water and use. Now this all sounds rather time intensive, but it's actually not. When I know I will be using a lemon for a recipe, I start with the oil and then soap, then let it sit in vinegar while I finish the rest of the recipe.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Makes 1 serving:

  • 5 broad beans

  • small handful of frisee lettuce or other green lettuce

  • 1 grapefruit

  • 1 spring onion, finely chopped

  • ⅓ small fennel bulb

For the dressing:

  • zest of 1 lemon

  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tsp raw honey

  • freshly ground black pepper and sea salt

  1. Start by steaming or blanching the broad beans.

  2. To steam: fill ⅓ of a big pot with water. Bring to boil. Place the beans in a metal strainer, and place this on top of the pot, making sure the boiling water does not touch the beans. Put the lid on and steam for 8 minutes until soft but still with a crunch. Run under cold water to cool off, and stop the steaming process.

  3. To blanch: use a smaller pot and fill it completely with water. Bring to a boil. Add the beans for 2 minutes, and boil until soft but still with a slight crunch. Strain the beans, and again run under cold water.

  4. Roughly chop the lettuce, and arrange on a plate.

  5. Cut off the bottom stem of the fennel. Check that the outside of the fennel isn't to bruised, otherwise you may want to throw away the outer layer. Then very thinly slice the fennel from the bottom to the top. You only need about ⅓ of the fennel bulb for this salad. Keep the rest of the fennel to make the bloat buster juice. Arrange the fennel rings on the lettuce.

  6. Take the grapefruit and filet it. This means you start by lying it down on its "waist" and you want to cut the top and bottom off like a lid. Then stand it up, and cut down the sides to take off the peel and most of the white skin. You should be left with a very naked looking grapefruit. You can either just chop this roughly or if you don't like the walls in between each filet, you can cut out the individual filets, running the knife along each wall to get each filet out. Arrange the grapefruit on top of the lettuce.

  7. Next, chop the beans roughly, and add to the bed of lettuce.

  8. Sprinkle the finely chopped spring onion on top.

  9. Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients, and whisking, whisking, whisking until your arm falls off. Now this recipe will give you more dressing than you need, but I thought you would find it as delicious as me, and you want want some extra. You're welcome.

  10. Drizzle the dressing on top of the salad and enjoy.

Happy summer days!

#lemon #beans #lettuce #grapefruit #fennel #honey #healthtips