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.