Yield: 6 servings
- 3 medium golden beets
- 2 medium bulbs fennel
- 2 Persian or 1 English cucumber
- 2 medium grapefruits
- 1 head Belgian endive
- 1 Tbs. finely minced shallot
- 1/2 tsp. dry mustard powder
- 1/4 tsp. anise seed, lightly crushed
- 1 Tbs. Sherry vinegar
- 1 Tbs. lemon juice
- juice from cutting the grapefruits
- 1/4 cup or more to taste olive oil
- salt & freshly ground pepper
Trim the beets and steam them over simmering water until tender. Let cool then peel (the skins should rub off). Cut into slices or small wedges. Wash fennel bulb and trim off stalk and any brown spots. Slice the fennel into very thin slivers, preferably with a mandoline. Use the same mandoline to slice the cucumber very thin, then salt the cucumber and let drain for 10 minutes. Squeeze it dry and combine with the fennel. Remove and reserve a teaspoon of grapefruit zest, then peel and remove all the white pith from the grapefruit. Slice into “supremes” by cutting between the membranes, and set aside, catching any juice (squeeze the membrane too!) to add to the dressing. Toast the anise seed in a dry frying pan and grind in the mortar and pestle.
Make dressing by combining zest, minced shallot, dry mustard, toasted anise seed, vinegar and lemon juice, grapefruit juice you’ve accumulated, plus salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Add oil and stir. Add two tablespoons of the dressing to the beets, and let them marinate until you put the salad together.
Toss together the fennel and cucumber, beet wedges and grapefruit sections. Dress with as much of the reserved dressing as you need, to moisten it. Turn into a nice bowl, and decorate with the endive leaves.