Herbed Grapefruit Salad with Smoked Salmon


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • A Funky Starter For


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By Sally Butcher

Published 2014

  • About

This lovely if odd salad works as a foil for more or less any smoked or rich fish and meat dishes.

One tends to forget about grapefruit, no? It was one of the original slimming super-foods, then it became one of the most hackneyed starters of all time, then it got a bad press for not being very helpful for those on certain types of medication. Nowadays it seems mostly to be the preserve of boarding house breakfast buffets. But you know, it’s a corker in salad. It can give savoury dishes some real phwoar.

This recipe evolved out of an uncharacteristic moment of weakness one day when I entrusted the mister with my grocery list. Men are quite shocking at shopping, no? All those little extras that fall into their baskets... and the essentials that they just somehow ‘forget’ to buy. I never have any trouble eating smoked salmon, mind, but presented with a fridge of largely random ingredients, rather than scowl at aforementioned spouse ungraciously, I decided to do something a bit different with them...


  • 2 medium grapefruits
  • 1 lime
  • ½ sweet (mild, white) onion, finely sliced
  • big handful of fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped
  • few sprigs of fresh basil, shredded
  • few sprigs of fresh dill (or use ½ tsp dried)
  • tbsp olive oil
  • ½ small stick of fresh lemongrass (or use 1 tsp dried)
  • salt and coarsely ground black pepper
  • 200 g/7 oz.pack smoked salmon (it may be a little too much, but you’re going to pick at it, obviously, then there’s the cat)


Using a narrow, sharp knife, remove the top and bottom of the grapefruits so that you remove most of the pith. Sit them flat on your chopping board and slice down around the fruit carefully, removing the peel and pith; chop the fruit firstly into thin slices, before cutting each slice into half so you end up with semi-circular pieces. Remove any obvious pips, then place them in a bowl, tipping any surplus juice into a smaller separate bowl.

Grate the zest of the lime and add it to the smaller bowl, then cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice of one half into the small bowl as well. Remove the skin from the second lime half and dice the flesh, discarding any pips, before adding it to the sliced grapefruit. Add the sliced onion and fresh herbs and mix gently.

Whisk the olive oil into the citrus juice. Pulverise the lemongrass (whether using fresh or dried) and add this to the dressing along with a little salt and pepper.

When you are ready to serve, add the salmon to the grapefruit salad and drizzle with the dressing. Serve with bread and butter, or better still, Melba toast* (to get another 70s food fad out of the closet).

* Melba Toast: easy-peasy to make your own

Toast 2–3 pieces of regular (stale if you like) sliced bread, then put it flat on a chopping board and cut through it horizontally so you end up with very thin squares of bread. Preheat the grill and spread the squares out, untoasted side up, on your grill pan. Cook until the bread just starts to colour, then leave for 5–10 minutes for the bread to crisp up. Perfect, thrifty, useful, and ace with salads. Pat yourself on the back.