It is one of Mother Nature’s greatest reassurances, that just as the days are getting depressingly short and dark, along comes citrus season to lift our spirits with tastes and colours of summer.
It’s genuinely one of my favourite times of year, from simmering pots of marmalade filling the house with heavenly and uplifting scents, to hearty winter salads spiked with the promise of sunny days ahead. It also helps that all that bright sparkling citrus is the perfect contrast to the heavy, heart and bone-warming food we’re drawn to at this time of year.
Smokey, oily fish, zingy grapefruit, earthy lentils, peppery watercress – this salad makes the perfect feel good lunch. Full of goodness and bright flavours, it’s simple enough to make for a quick lunch to pack for work, or served with crusty bread and a chunk of cheese to follow, it makes the perfect weekend lunch for guests.
It’s genuinely one of my favourite times of year, from simmering pots of marmalade filling the house with heavenly and uplifting scents, to hearty winter salads spiked with the promise of sunny days ahead.
Smoked Mackerel, Grapefruit & Lentil Salad
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 250g cooked Puy lentils (see note)
- 1 red or pink grapefruit
- 1 small fennel bulb
- Small bag of watercress
- 1 packet of smoked mackerel fillets
- 2 tbsps grapefruit juice
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 5 tbsps olive oil
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- Small handful of parsley
- Pinch of salt
- Black pepper
Start by peeling and segmenting your grapefruit. Using a serrated knife, slice off the top and bottom of the grapefruit and then carefully slice off the skin from top to bottom, working your way around the fruit. Once peeled, use the knife to cut the segments free from the white membrane. Be sure to keep all of the juice from this messy business as you’ll need it for the dressing. Set aside your beautiful grapefruit segments.
Put the fennel slices and lentils into a large bowl and add the watercress, picking out any stalks that are too thick. Separate the mackerel fillets into flakes and add to the bowl.
Put the grapefruit juice into the jug of a blender or nutri-bullet, and add the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, mustard, parsley and salt & pepper and blitz until creamy.
Pour two thirds of the dressing over the salad and toss gently.
Divide the salad between two plates and top with the grapefruit segments and a drizzle of the dressing.
Note: You can buy pouches of ready cooked Puy lentils at most supermarkets these days. If you’d rather cook them from scratch, soak 100g of dried lentils for a couple of hours (or overnight). Rinse and then put in a pan with plenty of cold water. Don’t forget to season the cooking water for best results. I use a homemade bouillon paste (more on that another day), but you could use a sprinkle of Marigold bouillon powder or half a veggie stock cube. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for approx 20 minutes, or until the lentils are softened but not mushy. Drain and set aside to cool.