Puntarelle, Red Grapefruit & Caper Salad

2HR PREP AHEAD ALERT

A lively symphony of flavours on a plate.

Bitter tones from the puntarelle, bright citrus notes from the grapefruit, salty staccato accents from the capers all boldly encased in a sweet, silky dressing.

Someone’s been at the thesaurus again!

This hero of a salad is from a Nigel Slater piece championing the wonders of citrus fruits. It does a damn fine job of showing off the puntarelle too.

The dressing is made with melted butter, a fabulous first for us.

We’ve mixed it up slightly from Nigel’s recipe, purely because we saw these things – in our local Costcutter of all places! I asked what they were and got “they’re good for juicing” back. Which they certainly are, perfect for juicing. Since figured out they are Blood Limes (98% sure) and I’m in love. A hybrid creation that’s acidic like a lime, sweet like a mandarin and has lots of blush pink juice.

As they are so beautiful (and juicy) we’ve replaced the orange and clementines in Nigel’s recipe for these. Two  birds, one stone, clever little hybrid!

15 mins + 2hr soak | serves 4 | nah wazzas

Ingredients 

1 puntarelle (you will need 500g for this recipe)  
1 red grapefruit 
3 blood limes, 1 juiced
50g butter 
2 tsp capers

Method

Remove the outer leaves of the puntarelle until you have reached the core of tubular stalks in the middle. The dark green outer leaves are great additions to soups and stews so don’t throw ’em.

Separate the stalks and cut them into strips. Plunge the strips into iced water and leave them there for 2 hrs to curl slightly.

Top & tail the grapefruit then sit it flat on a board so you can slice around the fruit to remove the skin and pith. You have to be fastidious about removing all the pith, its bitterness will spoil the salad.

Cut it in half and then slice each half finely. Do the same with two of you blood limes.

Drain the puntarelle and pat dry, then arrange on a plate with the citrus fruit slices.

Melt the butter in a small pan and then on a gentle heat, leave it there for 3-4 mins, watching it all the time, until is begins to smell nutty. As soon as that happens, throw in the blood lime juice and capers, give it a quick stir and remove the heat.

Pour the dressing over the salad and serve up immediately.

Spring to it.

PS: Have we identified the blood limes correctly? Anyone in the know, please get in touch to confirm or deny for us!

Source: Nigel Slater’s winter citrus recipes for the Guardian.

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