You're Actually Going To Want To Eat This Salad

Photo: Courtesy of Food52.

Salad shouldn't be an obligation or an afterthought — and it doesn't always have to be kale, either. Every other Thursday, Elizabeth Stark from Brooklyn Supper will help you make salads you actually want to eat.

Today: Fight the winter blues by making a creamy and spicy salad filled with colorful citrus. 

This time of year calls for a mess of citrus. Once the full-fledged melancholy sets in — and I'm fairly certain it already has — I go hunting for winter fruit. Hunting may be a bit of an exaggeration — one could also call it "grocery shopping." Even so, I like to approach my citrus-gathering trips with a bit of adventure, and I often find I've acquired more fruit than my counter can reasonably accommodate. 

Related: A Classic Chicken Caesar Salad

Afterwards, I get into the kitchen and figure out what to do. My most recent haul — Ruby Red grapefruit and Cara Cara oranges — called for toasting up fragrant spices and grinding them by hand. I minced bunches of cilantro and dill and tossed the herbs with shaved fennel and celery. Last up was the messy business of supreming all that grapefruit. Once the work was done, I positioned myself over the sink and scraped the delicious pulp from each peel with my teeth. (Perfect citrus segments are great and all, but this is the real pleasure of taking a knife to grapefruit.)

This pretty citrus salad with jewel-toned grapefruit and Cara Cara oranges might not be enough to completely undo winter's grays, but I promise it will help. Creamy and spicy, with all kinds of fragrant additions, this winter salad is a delight, no matter how cold it is outside.

Photo: Courtesy of Food52.
Citrus Salad with Shaved Fennel, Celery, and Cilantro-Yogurt Dressing
Serves 4 to 6


For The Dressing

1 tsp whole coriander seeds
1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp finely minced ginger
1 tsp Ruby Red grapefruit zest, plus 2 tablespoons juice
1 pinch chile powder
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced dill
1 tbsp minced cilantro
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper 

For The Salad
1 bulb fennel
6 stalks celery
1/2 shallot
Sea salt, to taste
2 Ruby Red grapefruit
2 Cara Cara oranges
2 tbsp cilantro leaves
2 tbsp chopped dill
1 pinch of coriander and cumin mixture
Black pepper 

1. Start with the dressing. Set a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the coriander and cumin and toast, shaking once or twice, for about 45 seconds, just until spices have darkened just a shade or two and smell fragrant. Using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, grind toasted seeds to a fine powder.

2. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to combine the garlic, ginger, and grapefruit zest and juice, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the ground coriander and cumin mixture (reserve any extra for garnishing later on), and a pinch of chile powder. Use the fork to slowly beat in the yogurt, followed by the olive oil.
3. Stir in minced herbs, and add sea salt and pepper to taste.

4. To prepare the salad, cut away any green fennel fronds and reserve for garnish. Cut the core out of the fennel and shave thinly on a mandoline. Trim the celery, and shave at a diagonal into thin slices. Shave the shallot. Set shaved vegetables in a large bowl and sprinkle with a pinch or two of sea salt. Toss with a tablespoon of the yogurt dressing and set aside while you prepare the fruit.
5. Cut off tops and bottoms of the citrus, cut off the peel and pith with a downward motion, and supreme the fruit.

6. Fold the herbs into the shaved vegetables, and add several more tablespoons dressing. Adjust salt levels as needed.
7. Arrange on a serving platter and tuck citrus wedges throughout. Garnish with any reserved fennel fronds, dill, and cilantro, plus a pinch each of the toasted spice mixture and black pepper.

To best capture the fragrance and flavor, this salad is best enjoyed right away. If making ahead, you'll want to keep all the main elements separate until just before serving.

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