Meyer lemons are slightly sweeter than a normal lemon and therefore perfect used in this way – the whole segments give you a delicious, slightly tart flavour without an overwhelming sharpness. This salad has that great balance of flavours that I love so much: a little bitterness from the radicchio, a nice, earthy mushroom flavour, a much-loved subtle aniseed flavour from the fennel, a hint of acid from the lemon, with the parmesan adding a touch of creaminess.
- 2 Meyer lemons or sweet lemons
- 80 ml good olive oil
- 75 g button mushrooms, finely sliced
- 2 small heads of fennel, finely sliced
- ½ small head of radicchio, leaves roughly torn into half
- ½ cup flat-leaf parsley
- 40 g shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano
- river salt and black pepper
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
With a knife, remove the skin of the lemon, leaving none of the white pith. Over a bowl, hold a lemon in one hand and use a knife with the other to cut out each individual segment. Give the remaining lemon membrane in your hand a little to squeeze to collect the last of the juice. Repeat with the other lemon.
Pick out any seeds before straining off the juice to use for our dressing, and set the segments aside in another bowl. To make the dressing, simply whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and some seasoning. You don’t need this dressing to be too acidic, as the segments in the salad will give everything an extra kick. Set the dressing aside.
In a large bowl, place the sliced mushrooms, season with a nice amount of salt and give them a little stir. To this, add the lemon segments and gently combine with a spoon. You will notice the mushrooms immediately suck up any extra juicy bits from the segments.
To this, add the fennel and radicchio, give it another gentle toss to combine, before adding the dressing and then gently tossing once more. At this stage, have a little taste for seasoning and, once you are satisfied, add the parsley and parmesan before giving your salad a final mix.
• Feel free to add other herbs or leaves to this salad, but do keep in mind that you want a nice balance of bitterness and softness.
Photographs by Benito Martin. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Suresh Watson. Medium flax platter in colour charcoal from Papaya. Ensen salad servers from Country Road.