Roasted fennel and shallot salad with grapefruit

April 27, 2011 § 3 Comments

This salad was first made out of desperation, because I had purchased some fennel but didn’t really know what to do with it, and I didn’t want to waste it. Fortunately, salads can handle mysterious, intimidating vegetables really well, and I even had the forethought to write down what I did. I’m really pleased too, because not only is it really delicious, but it also has the benefit of being easy to assemble from seasonal, nutritious ingredients: roasted fennel and shallots, juicy grapefruit, and crisp lettuces, tossed together with zingy mustard-grapefruit vinaigrette.



Despite being quite easy to make, I do recommend taking a bit of extra time and care to cut the fennel and shallots very thinly, and then roast them, because roasting the fennel and shallots concentrates their savory flavors. I particularly like how the richness of the warm shallots contrasts so nicely against the cold, refreshing grapefruit slices.

Also, instead of using traditional vinegar or lemon juice as the acid in the vinaigrette, use the grapefruit juice squeezed from the remains of the grapefruit after slicing. Adding a bit of the zest to the vinaigrette boosts the flavor of the vinaigrette with just a swipe or two of the microplane. For a final flourish, the fennel fronds add a bright anise counterpoint to the depth of the roasted fennel.



Don’t let the title of the salad hem you in, though: it is pretty adaptable both in ingredients and quantity: thinly-sliced red onions could easily take the place of the shallots, or roasted squash slices could be swapped in should there be any fennelphobes around. I’ve also employed grainy and smooth Dijon successfully in the vinaigrette as well, depending on what mustard I have lurking in the refrigerator.

You can also enjoy the salad either as a filling meal for one, as I did this time (I halved the recipe below), or double it and serve it out of a large bowl to friends and family. Plus, it’s also vegan and gluten-free.

Roasted fennel and shallot salad with grapefruit

Serves four as a side salad, two as a main salad

Ingredients

For salad and roasted vegetables

  • 2.5 ounces assorted baby lettuces
  • One large bulb of fennel, sliced, green fronds reserved, stems discarded
  • Two large shallots, sliced into fourths lengthwise
  • One to two tablespoons of olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • One grapefruit, segmented – reserve a few teaspoons zest and approximately 1/2 cup juice from squeezing pulp that remains

For vinaigrette

  • One to two teaspoons grapefruit zest
  • Approximately 1/2 cup grapefruit juice
  • Two tablespoons Dijon or grainy Dijon mustard
  • Two tablespoons olive oil
  • Fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare shallots and fennel for roasting; drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt for thirty-five minutes, or until golden-brown in spots (discard any excessively browned parts of the fennel).

2. Meanwhile, wash and then spin dry the salad leaves and fennel fronds.

3. Zest a bit of the grapefruit into a small jar, and then segment the grapefruit. Set grapefruit slices aside.

4. Squeeze out juice from the leftover membranes and add to the zest. Combine remaining vinaigrette ingredients, and then whisk to emulsify (or shake in the screw-top jar).

5. Layer salad greens, roasted shallots and fennel slices, and top with grapefruit segments. Drizzle vinaigrette over top, and garnish with more fennel fronds, if desired. Enjoy right away!

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