Pair bitter with sweet in grapefruit-radicchio salad

New York TimesApril 18, 2012 

  • 2 pink or red grapefruits 2 Medjool dates, pitted and thinly sliced 1/2 medium shallot, peeled and thinly sliced Fine sea salt, to taste 1 small head radicchio, halved and cored 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pistachio nuts Freshly ground black pepper SLICE the top and bottom off one of the grapefruits. Stand it up on a cut side and, using a small sharp knife, slice off the peel and pith, following the curve of the fruit. Save the peels (there should be some red fruit clinging to the pith). Repeat with the other grapefruit. Slice both grapefruits into quarter-inch-thick rounds and arrange on a platter. Evenly sprinkle the dates on top. SQUEEZE the juice from the grapefruit peel into a small bowl. You should have about a tablespoon. If there is less, squeeze some from one of the grapefruit slices. Add the shallot and a pinch of salt; let sit for 5 minutes. SLICE the radicchio thinly and add to a bowl. Add the shallot and grapefruit juice and toss to combine. Toss in 3 tablespoons of the oil. SPRINKLE grapefruit slices with salt and drizzle with the remaining oil. Place a mound of the radicchio in the middle of the grapefruit, leaving a border of the fruit exposed. Sprinkle with pistachios and black pepper and serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings

All winter, I make citrus salads that cleave, for the most part, to the same basic formula.

I cover a platter with sliced oranges, tangerines or grapefruit, or a combination, and scatter olives or capers and a few thinly sliced red onions over the top. Olive oil, red pepper flakes and sea salt complete the picture. I can throw it together in six minutes flat.

It’s exuberantly juicy, sweet and spicy, the perfect thing to cut through the meaty richness of all those wintry braises and roasts.

On a recent warmish evening, I had a pink grapefruit on the counter, but I craved something that felt like spring.

Traditionally, spring salads contain sharp, bitter greens. I chose radicchio, whose rosy shade matched my grapefruit.

Since I seemed to be cooking by color, I picked up some pistachios. I could picture a salad in vibrant shades of pink, the purple-and-green-hued nuts dotting its surface.

I also bought some shallots and dates (brown, but I wanted to add a condensed sweetness to contrast with all the bitterness).

Once home, I peeled the grapefruit, using a technique in which you slice off the pith and peel together.

I sliced the grapefruit crosswise, into rounds, and fanned them out on the plate like the petals of a flower. I sprinkled with the dates, piled the radicchio in the middle, and scattered the nuts on top. The salad was stunning to behold and quite satisfying to eat.

To see the recipe, click on the Recipe Name below:

Pink Grapefruit and Radicchio Salad with Dates and Pistachios

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