When it’s the dead of winter my body really starts craving some bright fresh flavors, it’s fortunate that winter brings with it an abundance of beautiful citrus to feed my cravings. I was never a big fan of grapefruit but then a few years ago I discovered Rio Star grapefruits and I can never get enough during the few months they are available, they are a beautiful vivid pink color and sweeter and juicier than most other of their counterparts.
Now that the holiday season is winding down I’m also really craving healthier and lighter dishes to counteract all the heavy food and sweets that my diet unfortunately consisted of. This salad is bright, satisfying and doesn’t make me feel like I am depriving myself of anything. I love the slight licorice flavor of fennel contrasted with the sweet tartness of the grapefruit and the dates, almonds and mint add a slight Middle Eastern flavor to the dish. The best part is that since you are using kale as the base you can make the salad hours before you want to serve it and you don’t have to worry about it getting soggy or losing flavor. I like my salads to have a nice bite from whatever acid I’m using so I normally go with a 1:1 ratio in my vinaigrettes but if you want to go a more traditional route add another tablespoon of olive oil to the dressing.
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Kale grapefruit and fennel salad
For the salad:
1 bunch of lacinto kale, torn into bite sized pieces
1 head of fennel thinly sliced or shaved on a mandolin
2-3 dates, pitted and chopped
¼ cup slivered almonds
¼ cup mint leaves
salt and pepper to taste
For the dressing:
2 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl, whisking in the olive oil last.
Segment the grapefruit and squeeze any remaining juice from the flesh into the dressing.
Place the kale and fennel in a large bowl and dress with a few tablespoons of the dressing; massage the leaves with your hands, working the dressing into the leaves. and season with salt and pepper.
Add the grapefruit and dates and toss gently to combine. Sprinkle the almonds and mint over the top and serve with a drizzle of additional dressing if desired.