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Yotam Ottolenghi’s Pink Grapefruit and Sumac Salad

The sharp flavours of sumac and grapefruit are balanced by a sweet, fragrant basil dressing in this Ottolenghi salad recipe. It's bursting with flavour and makes an impressive dinner party side.

From the book

Yotam Ottolenghi


Something about the word or connotations of grapefruit often stops people from ordering it from a menu, but I urge you to give this a go: its astringency is more than balanced here by the sweetness of the basil and the dressing. It works as a palate-awakening starter or in between courses, but also as a side dish served alongside fried firm tofu pieces or a spicy roasted chicken. Preparing the grapefruit takes a little time but can be done well in advance.

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6 pink or red grapefruit (2.2kg in total)
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 small dried red chilli (use less if it is very hot)
60ml olive oil
1½ tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp sumac
½ medium red onion, very thinly sliced (70g)
2–3 small red chicories, leaves separated and any large leaves cut in half at an angle (280g)
80g watercress
20g basil leaves


Take 5 of the grapefruit and use a small sharp knife to slice off each top and tail. Now cut down the side of each grapefruit, following its natural curve, to remove the skin and white pith. Over a small bowl, cut in between the membranes to remove the individual segments. Place in a colander to drain and gently squeeze any remaining juices into a small saucepan.

Squeeze enough juice from the last grapefruit to make the juice in the pan up to 300ml. Add the sugar and chilli and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens and you have about 5 tablespoons left, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool down, then whisk in the olive oil, lemon juice, sumac and ¼ teaspoon of salt.

To assemble the salad, put the grapefruit segments, onion, chicory, watercress and basil in a large bowl. Pour over three quarters of the dressing and toss very gently. Add the remainder of the dressing if the salad seems dry; otherwise, keep in the fridge for another leafy salad. Serve immediately.

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