Thursday, September 01, 2005


Butterleaf Salad with Peaches, Grapefruit and Fennel

I haven't got a summer house to shut down for the season, I don't have a boat that needs to be dry docked or a child preparing to go back to school, but the end of summer is almost here, and just thinking about it makes me a touch melancholy (which really makes no sense, since its not like the weather is about to drastically change or anything.)

It's the words "the end" that really get me, knowing that my favorite fruits and vegetables will soon be scarce, the bounty of my garden will be fully reaped and that in a blink of the eye, I will be decking the halls and not lounging pool side.

That said, there is still a little miracle of summer left yet, and just because it is Labor Day (here in the States) doesn't mean I am at a total loss for grandiose things to make and indulge in.

As a matter of fact, just yesterday afternoon, I made a salad for my lunch that may have to go into my own personal hall of fame for yummiest things ever. Using my almost ubiquitous ingredient, mint, I added all the goodness of the season into one bowls worth of fan-flippin-tab-U-los! With the addition of some grilled shrimp or some thick slices of luscious avocado, this could be quite a substantial meal, but as it is, it is light and refreshing. Try it, and enjoy!

2 heads butter or bib lettuce, leaves separated
2 large peaches
1 large pink grapefruit
1 small bulb fennel, sliced thin, fronds reserved as garnish
1 small onion sliced thin
a few small green picholine olives
parmesan cheese
olive oil
salt and pepper

For the dressing, combine a few tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper with the grapefruit juice (from the segments) and parmesan. Wisk to combine, taste and adjust seasonings.

To segment a grapefruit (or any citrus) carefully slice the top and bottom off so it can stand on the countertop and not roll. Using a very sharp knife, remove the peel and the pith (the white interior layer) following the shape of the fruit. When the peel is removed, remove each segement by slicing flush with the fruit on each side of the membrane. Reserve the segments and squeeze the juice from the remaining membrane (sorry about that word, it was all I could think of right now) into a bowl.

The idea of this salad is that it is as if the ingredients are bursting out of the head of lettuce, so to compose it, start by re-building the head of lettuce in a shallow bowl, then tuck the rest of the ingredients (including whole leaves of mint) in, dress and dig in.

Makes four small salads


"Confectioner and beverage maker Cadbury Schweppes PLC said Thursday it plans to sell its European beverages business as it focuses on more profitable lines, including operations in the United States. The company, the producer of Dr Pepper, Mott's Apple Juice, Dairy Milk chocolate and Trident gum, didn't say how much it would seek for the unit, but analysts said it could likely fetch more than 1 billion pounds ($1.8 billion)." AP

Beans are considered "filler" by the Chili Appreciation Society International and therefore disqualify any chile that contains them from contests judged by the group.

The Carmel TomatoFest, will be held Sept. 11 at Quail Lodge Resort in Carmel Valley, California

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Yum - that sounds REALLY good! I'm not sure if I can find that exact lettuce here, but the flavor combination (sans the olives) sounds fantastic and I'll definitely give it a try!
That's funny, I was just here to post about the olives as well, thinking that their brine would add a salty coutnerpoint to the fennel and peaches. Maybe I should make it with and without, for taste testing purposes.
I chose picholine olives because they are not that salty. (they are the meatier ones) It does seem a touch odd now that I re-read it though...oh well, it tasted fab! LOL.
Yum. Once again, you outdo yourself. I'm making another feast tomorrow night, for friends who are coming into town. Quinoa salad with smoked salmon and capers. Homemade tacos with fresh corn tortillas and marinated pork. Hummus and zucchini. Fresh pesto pasta. And chocolate sorbet.

but I kept thinking: something's missing. And now I know--it's this salad of yours. I'm making that tomorrow too!
What a wonderfully fresh sounding salad. It looks beautiful.

I love your writing style - the way the words are tossed in along with the ingredients.

I'll be back often
Lovely way to use what the Peach Man says are the last of the peaches this year - only six left
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