A kale and hearty salad with a totally tropical taste

Grapefruit, kale and mint salad makes the most of the season’s abundant greens

The zing of summer: kale, grapefruit and  mint salad

The zing of summer: kale, grapefruit and mint salad

 

There’s something very tropical about grapefruit. It’s not just the fact that they are difficult to grow here in Ireland, but having been brought up in 1980s rural Ireland the sight of an actual fresh grapefruit was quite rare. Tinned grapefruit was often on the breakfast menu but I always associated them as being quite a grown-up, sophisticated choice. I was also quite brainwashed by Lilt’s advertising campaign, convinced that the syrupy soft drink of grapefruit and pineapple flavours was indeed the epitome of “totally tropical taste”.

Now one of my favourite breakfasts is half an organic grapefruit cold from the fridge. It’s like fizzy jellies. Sweet, sour and bursting with flavour. The perfect wake-up call.

Kale is a fantastic base ingredient for salads, and perfect for buying once a week as it will last all week long. I usually wash it well and remove the tough inner stalk. Simply store it as is in the fridge or chop it finely and dress it the day you plan on eating it. Kale benefits from being massaged with a little olive oil and salt at least 10 minutes before serving to break down the tough fibres and make them more digestible. It can take heavy or thick dressings and will sit in the fridge with the dressing for a day or two.

This salad makes the most of the herbs that are growing in abundance with this beautiful weather in between rain showers. Feel free to add even more herbs if you have access to them.

Fennel is great with grapefruit. I’ve used some fennel herb for this but add even more body and crunch to the salad by mixing in some slices of raw fennel bulb. You can use oranges in place of, or in addition to, the grapefruit. It’s a really lovely hearty salad that has all the flavour of summer, and makes a nice fresh starter or a punchy side dish that’s great with barbecued or roast chicken or fish.

This salad can easily be made vegan by substituting the feta cheese for some slices of buttery avocado. It does benefit, texturally and taste wise, by having something creamy. Add toasted pecans or hazelnuts on top for crunch.

Don’t be afraid of using too much mint as the kale can withstand its flavour and it brings a great freshness and light.

If kale is too strong for you, then use a mixture of peppery rocket and finely shaved fennel, the flavours are just perfect with the grapefruit.

Kale, grapefruit and mint salad

Serves 2-4
Ingredients
100g kale
2 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt
Black pepper
2 tbsp finely chopped mint
2 tbsp roughly chopped parsley
1 tbsp roughly chopped fennel 
1 ruby red grapefruit
80g feta cheese

Method 
1
Wash the kale and remove the tough centre stems. Chop the leaves into small bite-size pieces. I find it easier to just shred it all quite small.

2 Place in a large bowl with the olive oil and a good pinch of salt and black pepper. Mix it all well and set aside.

3 Next, remove the skin and pith from the grapefruit. Cut the grapefruit over a bowl to save all the juice for the salad. Use a small sharp knife to remove the segments of fruit from the white membrane. Squeeze the juice from the membrane into the bowl too before discarding it.

4 Pour the juice over the kale leaves and mix gently. Add the parsley, mint and fennel to the bowl and mix to combine.

5 Plate up the salad and arrange the grapefruit segments over the kale and crumble the feta on top. Serve right away.

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