Sometimes I really miss working in an office. Did I just say that? The florescent lighting was terrible and the décor was worse, but I do miss the camaraderie. When I left that job nearly a year ago, I left behind an endearing weekly lunch event with three coworkers. We called it Salad Club. Every Thursday one of us prepared and served a salad for the others. It was glorious. These women were in touch with their vegetables, vinegars, and other accoutrements. The salad flowed, bowls and bowls of it, along with great conversation, and I miss that.
This Labor Day, I’d like to pay homage to good times at work by sharing a salad recipe that was a big hit with the Salad Club. The flavor combinations are citrusy and savory, robust and refreshing. It’s time consuming to make—caramelized onions, guys—but so worth it. It’s a great dinner party salad, too.
Caramelized Onion and Grapefruit Salad
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 pink grapefruits
1 head romaine lettuce, thinly sliced or torn into 1-inch pieces
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
3 scallions, finely sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
For the caramelized onions: In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are deep golden brown, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool, about 10 minutes.
For the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, lemon juice and honey. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until blended. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
For the salad: Peel and trim the ends from each grapefruit. Using a paring knife, cut along the membrane on both sides of each segment. Free the segments and add them to a large salad bowl. Add the lettuce, fennel, cucumber, scallions, and thyme.
Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until all the ingredients are coated. Arrange the caramelized onions on top and serve.
*Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis