Every year around this time, I am reminded of the wonder I felt during my first winter in Paris, when I experienced the extensive varieties of citrus fruit available during this season. So in awe was I at the time, I lined up every single variety we had on hand in the restaurant where I worked before snapping a quick photo and throwing it up on my Instagram. Blood orange, Meyer lemon, bergamote, limette, volkamer lemon and yuzu, each one a tangy orb of liquid sunshine brightening up my workday. In the eyes of a cook, there is nothing more cheerful and inspiring.
This salad is a play on one my mom made often when we were growing up. I still love her original version, but I have adapted it to become my own. As a side dish, it is the perfect way to brighten up a heavy meal, but it could also readily be eaten as a main.
I am using more widely available citrus fruit in this recipe, but substitute with whatever you have handy. If you prefer to keep things vegan, leave the eggs off and bump up the avocado.
For best results, use a sharp knife to remove the peels from each citrus fruit. Begin by cutting off each of the ends, just exposing the fruit. Place one cut side down on the cutting board before carefully cutting the pith and the peel away from the fruit in downward strips.
1 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
2 tbsp smooth Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp fleur de sel
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 head red-leaf lettuce, washed and spun dry
1 small bulb fennel, fronds removed, cut in half and sliced very thinly on a mandoline slicer
2 grapefruits, peel and pith removed with a knife, cut in half and sliced into 1/2-cm thick half-moon slices
2 blood oranges, peel and pith removed with a knife, sliced into 1/2-cm thick rounds
2 clementines, peel and pith removed with a knife, cut into quarters and sliced into 1/2-cm thick pieces
1 avocado, cut into cubes
1 small red onion, cut in half and sliced very thinly
generous amount of freshly cracked black pepper
extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Whisk all together until smooth and emulsified. Can be made a day or two in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Spoon the eggs into the boiling water and turn the heat down to medium. Cook at a simmer for 8 minutes. Remove from the water and run under cold water for 1 minute. Peel and slice into 1/2-cm thick rounds right before serving. Can be cooked a day or two in advance.
Place the freshly sliced fennel in a bowl with cold water and allow to sit for 15 minutes. This will crinkle up the slices and give the salad more volume. Strain and pat dry before beginning assembly of the salad.
Lay the leaf lettuce on a large platter. Layer first with the fennel, followed by the grapefruit, blood orange and clementine slices, tucking them around the fennel and each other. Layer with the avocado and the red onions. Finish with the egg slices and the dressing. Freshly crack a generous amount of black pepper over the whole salad and drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.