A Celebration of Citrus: Fennel, Grapefruit, and Blood Orange Salad

Light and refreshing, this dish shows off citrus at its best!

 In the dead of winter, when our fresh local produce is limited to root vegetables and greens, the seasonal citrus from the south are vibrant rays of sunshine. I look forward to all the varieties of oranges available, especially the sweet and colorful blood oranges, something unheard of when I was a kid. When I was growing up, this was the time of year when mom would bring home big mesh bags of “juice oranges” the only time of the year when oranges were cheap enough to buy just to squeeze for juice.

Grapefruit right now is sweet and juicy, Meyer lemons appear with their distinct almost woodsy flavor, and limes are actually heavy with juice! Who wouldn’t want to celebrate all this, especially when the world is black and white?

Fennel and grapefruit are a perfect pair

Fennel and grapefruit salad is a regular in my house, especially this time of year, and usually with avocado. I have to say, this year has been very disappointing here in the north with the avocado hunt; even fruit that are barely ripe and feel perfect to the touch, are brown on the inside upon opening up. This has happened several times. So I was delighted to find some at the co-op this week that were pretty perfect except for a couple small spots.

At this time of year, I want color on my plate

            It is black and white outside, so this is the time of year when I crave color on my plate. The blood oranges are beautiful to behold, so toss them into the salad as well. Some fennel seeds and fronds enhance that element of the salad, and a bit of jalapeño add a little zip! A light dressing from the zest and juice of the citrus brings it all together.

            You can swap other oranges or citrus for the blood orange depending on what is available and looks heavy and delicious. If using lemon or lime, add a bit more maple syrup to balance out the sour.

Then put on your shades, some reggae music, and dig in to this sunny salad. To make this a full meal, add some grilled tofu or shrimp and you’re all set!

A Celebration of Citrus: Fennel, Grapefruit and Blood Orange Salad

The dressing:

  • Zest of 1 medium grapefruit
  • Zest of 1 blood orange, or other citrus
  • 1 – 2 tbsp. grapefruit and orange juice (from sectioned fruit)
  • 2 tbsp. white wine or champagne vinegar
  • 1 tsp. honey or maple syrup
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Pinch of salt and few grinds pepper
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil

The salad:

  • 1 medium grapefruit, sectioned
  • 2 small blood oranges, sectioned
  • 1 large head fennel, sliced thinly
  • 2 tbsp. fennel fronds, chopped
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed
  • 2 fat scallions, sliced thinly
  • 1 fat jalapeño or Serrano pepper, finely minced
  • 2 avocados, chopped
  • ½ small head Napa cabbage, sliced thinly
  • Pea shoots to garnish
  • Seeds of choice to garnish, sesame, poppy, nigella, etc.

Make the dressing. Zest the citrus and place the zest in a large bowl. Whisk the rest of the dressing ingredients together, drizzling in the olive oil last. Taste and correct the seasoning to your liking. Is it sour enough? Do you want it sweeter?

Section the grapefruit and oranges into segments and place them in the bowl, (squeeze in the juice from the carcasses as well). Add the fennel, fronds, seeds, scallions, jalapeño, and mix well. Add the avocado and gently mix to combine.

On a serving platter, arrange the cabbage and pea shoots and top with the dressed salad. Sprinkle with seeds if you like, or some more fresh fennel fronds or parsley.

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  1. BERNADETTE says:

    This looks so inviting Dorothy. But I think I will half to leave out the grapefruit. I am on a statin. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Enjoy the other fruits! Such a lovely time of year to let imports into the kitchen!

  2. I love to use fennel in salads. It gives salads a boost when added.

    1. It’s such a lovely flavor!

  3. Ally Bean says:

    Yum. I am crazy about grapefruit this time of year– well all year, but particularly in the winter.

    1. Thank you Ally! The grapefruit are wonderful this year. My favorite way to eat them is to peel them and go to town straight up!

  4. Fennel and citrus is a favorite of mine, so I’m sold! 🙂

    1. I’ll save you some Ronit!

  5. writinstuff says:

    Oh wow, that sounds & looks so delicious and summery. Perfect for the cold here…

    1. Thank you! It was like a ray of sunshine in a grey day!

  6. Lovely photos, Dorothy, and the recipe sounds fantastic! 🌞

    1. Thank you Lisa! I had great models!

  7. Beautiful salad Dorothy, I love to use fruit in salads and blood oranges are so good right now. The dressing sounds wonderful!

    1. Thank you Jenna! Citrus adds such a bright note to a salad, and we need that right now!

  8. Awesome and beautiful 😍

    1. Thanks Doc V! I just adore this one!

    2. Thank you so much! It ticked all my winter boxes!

  9. Linda K says:

    A wonderful, colourful salad to combat the winter blues! Fennel and citrus is one of my favorite flavour combinations.

    1. Thank you Linda! It is indeed a favorite combo in my book as well!

  10. nancyc says:

    Yum! I love the citrus flavors of grapefruit and blood oranges, and I’m a big fan of avocados—this sounds like a delicious salad!

    1. Thank you Nancy! They all work together beautifully!

  11. Sowmya says:

    Colourful and flavourful salad Dorothy. Addition of fennel seeds makes it unique and flavourful i guess

    1. Thank you! I wanted to enhance the fennel flavor with both the rich seeds and more subtle fronds.

  12. NativeNM says:

    Love the citrus tones and colors which makes it so appetizing!

  13. Chef Mimi says:

    Pure fabulousness! It’s interesting to me that avocados and citrus go so well together!

    1. Thank you! I think the avocados can always benefit from a little zing!

  14. Jovina Coughlin says:

    Beautiful salad and the oranges make it more so.

    1. Thank you Jovina. The oranges definitely add a nice element.

  15. JOY journal says:

    🙂 So beautiful. I always imagine that citrus tastes like sunshine! A side note: I came across some pink Cara Cara oranges for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Amazing.

    1. Thank you! I’ve seen the Cara Caras lately as well, they are really delicious, and also taste like sunshine!

  16. terrie gura says:

    Yummy, yummy! You had me at fennel anyway, but all the other flavors, with the tart citrus and spicy jalapeno, wow. This would surely wake up my mid-winter taste buds!

    1. Thank you Terrie, it was so refreshing!
      P.S. I tucked your pizza dough in the refrigerator this morning for a three-day nap! It’s beautiful, soft dough, so I am hopeful. I was good and made the rye starter to help it along!

      1. terrie gura says:

        Awesome! So, what time for pizza on Saturday? 😉
        I hope it comes out great for you, Dorothy!

      2. 7 pm, don’t be late!

  17. Julia says:

    What beautiful pictures! My mouth is watering!

    1. Thank you Julia! That’s their intent!

  18. That looks like a delicious salad Dorothy! I have never tasted a blood orange, they are so pretty.

    1. Thank you Diane! Look for them, they are so sweet and beautiful!

  19. A celebration of citrus indeed! I love all flavors and colors of this salad! Absolutely delicious any time of the year 😉

    1. Thank you Ribana! It is especially welcome on a grey day in a New England winter!

  20. TaMara says:

    Love Blood Orange season!

    1. Isn’t it wonderful? You never know exactly how beautiful the orange will be until you slice into it, and it never disappoints!

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