Citrus and Watercress Salad with Toasted Coconut and Peanuts

Hello dear readers. Would it be too late to wish you a happy new year? I trust you had a safe, healthy and fun start to the new year. Did you reminisce about 2012 as soon as 2013 rolled in? I did. It was a special year for me, one filled with many new adventures, beginnings, lessons and goals achieved.

It was at the beginning of the year that my Hassan stepped into our lives. Our family was full, complete.  He has been a completely different baby compared to Maryam. More energetic, more difficult? Perhaps it’s a boy thing as everyone tells me. I’m grateful nonetheless. 

Just as 2012 began with a bang, it didn’t end any differently. I finished shooting a cookbook, a dream really. It was a month long marathon of cooking, styling, photographing and most importantly eating. Boy did me and Dalia eat. And we ate well. All amongst a sea of clutter. Prop clutter. The best kind of clutter, wouldn’t you agree?

There was a tomato tart, banoffee pie, truffle focaccia, pea risotto, veal ragu and osso bucco. Are you hungry yet? We also feasted on plum clafoutis, pastrami sandwiches and labneh wraps. But after a month of binge eating, all I wanted was something light and fresh.

Enter this grapefruit and blood orange salad with watercress and toasted coconut. I first ate a version of this at Pad Thai in Madinat Jumeirah whilst on a food safari. Even though I’ve been dreaming of it ever since, I’ve only just made it after exactly a year. 

It certainly did the trick. The original version was sans greens but I feel they are a must here. Light but hearty at the same time. And that coconut and blood orange combo? Oh yes, I’m already dreaming of coconut ice cream with blood oranges and perhaps something crumbly on top. What do you think?

Citrus Salad with Toasted Coconut and Peanuts

1 grapefruit, peeled and cut into segments
1 blood orange, peeled and cut into segments
2 bunches watercress (can substitute any other greens such as arugula)
3 tbs grapefruit juice
1 tbs blood orange juice
1 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs honey
2 tbs olive oil
3 garlic heads, crushed
3 tbs chopped coriander
1 tsp chili flakes
salt to taste

1/4 cup desiccated coconut, toasted
1/4 cup onions, fried
1/4 cup peanuts, toasted and roughly chopped

In a large bowl, flake the grapefruit and blood oranges (I left the segments whole) and mix together with the watercress. In a container, mix together the next seven dressing ingredients and season with salt. Toss the salad with the dressing. Sprinkle with coconut, fried onions and toasted peanuts. Serve immediately. 

Adapted from chef Gabi’s recipe, Pad Thai, Madinat Jumeirah

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