Castelfranco with gingerbread, mint & pink grapefruit

A vibrant and quirky salad to get you out of your winter lull! This might sound like a random jumble of ingredients badly in need of a straight-jacket, but I promise you the combination of flavours is a bona fide winner. Bitter leaves like castelfranco can stand up to almost whatever flavour you throw at them, and are invariably best paired with strong ones. Tardivo, for example, is delicious baked until tender then topped with blue cheese. They also benefit from taking a lot of dressing: much more than the usual green salad leaves. The sweet/sour with the gingerbread and pink grapefruit is in equal measures spritely and festive. This is also a prime example of the “pop” that is given by keeping herbs whole rather than chopping them. Feel free to use a McVities gingercake (the bright red packaging) as they are available in all supermarkets. You could even do this with malt-loaf, watercress, orange and horseradish, which could also work with some duck confit. 

Gingerbread puree

160g Gingerbread

80g Hot milk

Pinch Salt

- Blend everything together.

Gingerbread crumbs

60g Gingerbread, crumbled and toasted in a warm oven


- Divide the into leaves and keep in ice water to crisp and wash. Drain and spin dry.


1 tbsp Pink grapefruit juice

1 tbsp Chardonnay vinegar (failing that, white balsamic or white wine vinegar)

Pinch Sugar

Pinch Salt

4 tbsp Olive oil

- Mix all together.


1 handful Mint leaves per person, ripped in half if very large

½ Pink grapefruit, segmented, per person

- Place the castelfranco leaves into a bowl and grate over the zest of the pink grapefruit.

- Add the mint and the pink grapefruit segments.

- Dress very generously and mix well.

- Spread the gingerbread puree over the base of a platter, then scatter the salad on top. Finally scatter over some of the gingerbread crumbs.

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