This salad was the most fun I have had in a really long time. I don't think I have ever said that when it comes to food. I love cooking sure, I enjoy it, but I actually experienced glee and jumping-up-and-down excited-ness while prepping the salad, taking photos of the salad, and the best part...eating the salad. In fact, it is almost five days later and I am still enamoured with this dish.
While sitting in my overstuffed green reading chair and drinking coffee, I was imaging the how I was going to plate this dish and what ingredients I was going to use. I had some ideas and was writing down a few notes when suddenly I couldn't sit any longer. I couldn't just think about what I was going to do, I had to do it. And I had to do it now.This is a record of what I came up with:
Blood Orange and Grapefruit Salad
with Rocket and Candied Blood Orange Peel
If you have the winter doldrums and your tastebuds need a major boost, this is the answer. Light, juicy, spicy, tangy, and sweet. I almost fell off my chair with the first bite. The crunch of the almond gives way to the sweet pockets of juice in the fruit, while the rocket, or arugula, ends a good bite with a kick of its trademark spicy flavors.
1 blood orange peel
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 blood oranges
15-20 crisp rocket (arugula) leaves
2 almonds, blanched with skins removed
To candy the blood orange peel:
1) Heat honey, sugar, and water in a heavy saucepan.
2) Zest the peel of the blood orange.
3) When the temperature of the sugar mixture reaches 235 degrees F on a candy thermometer, drop in the peels of zest. Reduce heat to low and let slowly simmer for 30 minutes.
4)Remove peels from saucepan with a slotted spoon and let them cool on a silpat or wax paper.
To prepare the salad:
1)Remove peel from grapefruit and slice. Remove peel from blood oranges and cube.
(I also roasted a few grapefruit slices in a 400 degree F oven. This added a wonderful mellow sweetness to a very perky dish. Sprinkle the slices with sugar and place in the oven for about 15 minutes or until they begin to brown slightly. The roasted grapefruit slices are in the picture below on the right. Be warned: your fire alarm may go off!)
2) Plate the dish: