Monday, February 27, 2012

Parmesan Tuiles with Grapefruit and Chile Salad

It's common enough to find citrus fruits in salads. Grapefruit and avocado or orange and fennel are two classic examples. I wanted to make something similar but brighter and spicier and more of a winter version of a summer dish. I had a page from last September's Food and Wine in my idea stack, and I kept coming back to the parmesan tuiles with heirloom tomato salad. A small, crisp, savory cookie was a good vehicle for a bite or two of salad, and I started re-imaging the salad on top with winter's citrus. I had just received a box of Texas red grapefruit from TexaSweet, so I was ready to experiment. Some kind of chiles definitely needed to be included as well as something herby. I also wanted some sort of vegetable to balance the grapefruit's sweetness. I tried a mix of chopped grapefruit segments, tiny slivers of habanero, sliced green onion, and broccoli sprouts, and it was good but not perfect. The habanero was just way too hot in a big bite of salad, and the sprouts didn't add texture. I tried again with thinly sliced jalapeno and fresno chiles, some fine julienned pieces of radish, and parsley. That iteration combined all the flavors and textures I had in mind.

I actually made the parmesan bases two different ways. First, I followed the recipe from the magazine for the parmesan tuiles which is a mixture of grated parmigiano-reggiano, softened butter, a little flour, and some black pepper. That dough was formed into a log and cut into round cookies that baked into lacy, crisp wafers. The second version I made were just parmesan frico. I piled stacks of grated parmigiano-reggiano on a parchment-lined baking sheet and baked until the cheese melted into rounds. When cooled, the two cookies were almost the same with the latter being a little quicker and easier to make. For the salad, I cut the peel and pith off of two ruby red grapefruits, and then cut segments which I chopped into chunks. A jalapeno and a fresno chile were each thinly sliced, and two radishes were julienned. Two green onions were thinly sliced, and some parsley was finely chopped while a few leaves were left whole for garnish. All of the salad items except for the whole parsley leaves were combined in a bowl, seasoned with salt and black pepper, and then scooped with a fork to strain off the liquid when placed on each parmesan tuile.

The sweet, fresh, slightly bitter taste of the grapefruit was the center of attention, but the chiles did not go unnoticed. The radish, parsley, and green onion all added good balance. The big, bright flavors, as well as serving it on a parmesan cookie, made it a fun salad for winter. Of course, summer tomatoes would be good here too, but citrus worked extremely well for a February salad.



25 comments:

  1. This might be my favorite recipe of yours yet. I love bite-sized anything but the combination of the salty parmesan, spicy jalapeno and cool, sweet grapefruit sounds heavenly. And so beautiful! This would be a perfect dinner party appetizer!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gorgeous hors d'oevres! Love the combination.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Beautifully presented Lisa. What a great canape. I have been looking for ruby grapefruits and blood oranges lately but can't seem to find any :(

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh, that is a delightful combination! I really love the idea. Wonderful!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have to try the parmesan tuiles. I like the second version better.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I really love that your food looks so elegant and classy :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. One day I'll learn to segment. And when I do...this will the salad I kick off my newfound skillz with. Because there's nothing I'm loving more than grapefruit right now and this sounds fabulous!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ooh, the perfect two-bite treat -- crunchy, refreshing and just a tad spicy. I'd devour a whole platter of those. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a lovely recipe, and it sounds healthy yet exquisite at the same time!:)

    ReplyDelete
  10. A gorgeous salad! Love cheese tuiles.

    ReplyDelete
  11. What a great looking salad! I love the idea of using Parmesan as the base.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This is so beautiful and would be perfect for catering. I am always trying to come up with a good way to incorporate fruits and vegetables but it can be hard. I love this idea!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Gorgeous Salad...
    Those cheesy tulies look so delicious!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. love the hint of heat (jalapeno) and the colours are amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  15. How is it that you make every recipe look like art?!? I have to take a photography class...asap. I love that these at first glance look like an exotic tartare but are actually grapefruit. So refreshing and delightful. Nice work!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Sounds like a terrific combination! Few fruits are as pretty as ruby red grapefruit and your gorgeous photos are a testament to the fact. I've practically eaten my weight in grapefruit this last month or two- I'll be so sad when the season is over.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wow Lisa, this not only looks beautiful but must taste delicious, love the combination of grapefruit and chile...so exotic...I would to be able to get hold of one of this little bites.
    Hope you are having a great week and thanks for this awesome post :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Positively swooning over this, Lisa. Beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  19. This is something I really want to recreate. What a beautiful appetizer!

    ReplyDelete
  20. tuiles are so dainty and fun and adaptable, and these little bites are simply beautiful! what an interesting combination, too--excellent work once again, lisa!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Your parmesan tuiles look just gorgeous. What a lovely base for a salad!

    ReplyDelete
  22. What an absolutely yumyy sounding salad - I can imagine the flavors just bursting from it. You mentioned that the second version of the tuile was easier to make, but which worked best with the salad?

    ReplyDelete
  23. LouAnn: The two tuiles were very similar in texture and flavor. The all parmesan version is maybe just a little chewier, but hard to tell the difference between them.

    ReplyDelete
  24. This was amazing! I decided to try it and didn't even have all the ingredients so I can imagine the extra flavours when I do it again with all the ingredients. It was definitely an exquisite party in my mouth.

    ReplyDelete

Blogging tips