Grandmother used to make the best fruit salad. She chopped all the fruit nice and small and she added plenty of oranges. My family is crazy about fruit salad and it was always kind of a big deal to have it at the holidays. Fruit salad was never made in small quantities. It usually went into my moms' big white Tupperware bowl with the lid and we would enjoy it for a few days. Sometimes my grandmother would peel and slice the oranges at our house, seated at the dining room table with me hanging around eating them almost as fast as she could work. She could peel the orange from top to bottom in one long spiral, which she would hand to me to bite out any little bits of fruit clinging to the peel. Then she would segment the orange over the bowl and move on to the next one. Grandmother would prepare as many oranges as her grandchildren cared to eat. I never realized that this technique has a wonderful name.
You can supreme any citrus fruit, and you don't have to be able to make that perfect spiral of peeling. Begin by washing your fruit, then slice off both ends. Make sure your knife is sharp.
Now, place the fruit on one end on the cutting board. Start at the top and guide the knife down the curve of the fruit to remove the peel. Continue turning the fruit and slicing the peel off.
For the next step, I like to hold the fruit in my left hand and slice with my right. You may find it easier and safer to keep it on the cutting board. Look for the membranes that divide the sections. Cut right along the membrane to the center of the fruit, then cut along the adjacent membrane and remove the segment. You can continue in this fashion all the way around. However, I like to cut along the next membrane, then angle the knife back up the other side. The segment will slide out as you separate it from the membrane.
When you are done, you'll be left with beautiful, clean segments and the empty membranes. Squeeze the juice from the membranes over the fruit or save it for another project.
Now, for the recipe.
This is super simple, with only three ingredients plus salt and pepper. It is crunchy and citrusy and healthy. Perhaps it's the perfect side dish to start off a healthy new year. Fennel is sort of a wonder vegetable. The entire plant, from the bulb to the stalks, fronds and seeds are edible. The flavor is sort of like anise or liquorice. I like the bulb the best for it's crunchy texture and mild flavor. Fennel is high in vitamin C and fiber just to begin. It's traditionally been used to aid digestion and as a cure for bad breath. The more I research the benefits of fennel, the more far reaching the claims become. Fennel and it's compounds are useful for everything from indigestion, high blood pressure, estrogen imbalance and collagen production to heart health and cancer. .. and more. Whoa.
When you buy it at the grocery store it looks like this:
Wash it well and remove the stems and fronds. You can save the fronds for garnish if you wish. Remove any brown parts as you would from celery.
This recipe works well because of super thin slices. I use a mandoline and shave the fennel directly into the supremed grapefruit.
Toss the grapefruit and fennel together. If you are not going to serve the salad for a while, just cover and refrigerate. When you are ready to serve, add about 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. That's all there is to it. Many recipes add scallions, garlic, or other seasonings. I like it plain. Enjoy!