It’s a typical March week here in Wisconsin. One day it’s up to 40°F (short sleeve shirt weather up here) and the next it’s cloudy, gray, foggy and snowy. But what do you expect, it’s Springtime in Wisconsin and that means the weather can change in a heartbeat. I’m just praying for more nice weather. I usually enjoy winter but it’s been a long, cold one and I’m ready for Spring, and not just the occasional teaser. I’m ready for some sustained nice weather.

Late winter-early spring can be a rough time to find good produce, even in this day and age of rapid transport. It tends to be a time when the southern climes are in a lull between plantings and for those of us in the north, the weather isn’t warm enough to be planting and growing much. A couple of the earliest items that often get grown in early spring spinach and arugula. Often grown in hothouses and cold frames, these leafy greens are usually some of the earliest local crops available. Paired with segments of grapefruit and toasted pecans this makes a perfect salad to help chase those Springtime gray skies away.

Spinach and Arugula Salad with Grapefruit
serves 4-6

3-4 cups Baby Spinach
3-4 cups Arugula
2 each Grapefruit
1/4 medium Red Onion
3/4 cup Pecan halves
Grapefruit Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Preheat your oven to 300°F. Roughly chop the pecans (I usually just break them up by hand to make sure they stay nice and big). Place on a sheet tray and place in the oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes, stirring twice. Watch carefully so the nuts don’t burn. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, using a knife peel the grapefruit. Cut the top and bottom off and then, following the curve of the fruit cut off the peel and white pith beneath.

Using your knife, remove the segments of the grapefruit by cutting towards the center on either side of the membrane that holds each segment together so that you end up with supremes of grapefruit that only contain pulp and flesh, and none of the membrane. Be sure to catch all the juices and save for the dressing.

Cut the red onion into a paper-thin Julienne. Mix together the spinach and arugula. Place on a platter or in a large bowl Arrange the grapefruit, pecans and onion over the greens and serve with the dressing on the side so that guests can dress their own.

Grapefruit Vinaigrette
makes approximately 1 3/4 cups

1 1/2 cups Grapefruit juice (should be able to get most of that from the leftover pulp from cutting the supremes)
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

In a non-reactive sauce pot, bring 1 cup of the grapefruit juice to a boil. Reduce to just less than 1/2 cup. Set aside to cool. Once cool mix in the remaining grapefruit juice, the mustard, some salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Slowly drizzle in the oils, whisking constantly so that the dressing emulsifies. Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

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