Pink grapefruit and feta salad
The weather is most certainly calling for salads for supper. The summer seems to be creeping back into our collective consciousness, thanks to a sunny spell last week. It's always a surprise to find ourselves at the May bank holiday weekend, which marks the beginning of the summer months.
Grapefruits evoke sunnier climes, particularly the pink variety. White grapefruits are thought to have originated in Barbados, as a hybrid of the Jamaican sweet orange and the Indonesian pomelo.
They were eventually given the name grapefruit, in reference to the way the fruit grows in clusters on their tree. It's thought that the grapefruit was introduced to Florida in the early 1800s. In 1906, the Atwood Grapefruit Company discovered the first pink grapefruit growing on one of their trees. The appearance of the juicy, sweet pink grapefruit is sometimes referred to as nature's million dollar mistake, as it was an unplanned hybrid that led to a very economically fruitful fruit.
With my grapefruit salad, I'm pushing the boundaries of acidity by adding a squeeze of lime juice to our dressing. It's a balancing act with the lime and the honey, but a rewarding one when you get it just right.
With a hunk of warm, crusty baguette by its side, this salad is a nourishing summer supper. It also works really well with a few slices of roast chicken or a good piece of steak on the side.
Pink grapefruit and feta salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes
2 pink grapefruits
Half a small cucumber
50g of feta cheese
Handful of fresh mint
Pinch of chilli flakes
For the dressing
3 tablespoons of rapeseed or olive oil
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of runny honey
1 lime wedge
Pinch of salt and pepper
1. Start by slicing the grapefruit into rounds. Use a sharp knife to remove the rind from the circular slices, without damaging the shape. If you prefer, you can slice the grapefruits into segments or finely dice them for this salad. I like the look of the circles on the plate, so it's purely an aesthetic decision.
2. Slice the cucumber into long, thin strips or bite-sized pieces. Crumble the feta cheese with your fingers.
3. Arrange the grapefruit circles on two salad plates. Top with the cucumber pieces and crumbled feta. Pick the leaves from the fresh mint and scatter over the plates. Sprinkle with a pinch of chilli flakes.
4. Make the dressing by mixing together the oil, red wine vinegar and runny honey. Add a squeeze of lime juice and a pinch of salt and pepper. Give it a taste and add a little more honey if it's too tart. You want the dressing to be quite sweet to balance the acidic grapefruit, but not too sweet that you lose the lime juice.
5. Drizzle the salad with your dressing. Serve with some crusty bread on the side, or even some honey-roasted chicken legs.
This week's storecupboard essential:
Broighter Gold rapeseed oil: I've recently become very fond of this golden rapeseed oil, especially when used as a salad dressing. Owned by Richard and Leona Kane, this oil is produced in Myroe on the outskirts of Limavady in Northern Ireland. Find out more about this family business at broightergold.co.uk.
Photo: Mark Duggan