This fresh winter salad gets plenty of bright acidity from citrus and fresh cranberries, though soaking grapefruit in a spiced and honeyed red wine marinade keeps the dish firmly anchored in a festive holiday flavor profile. Be sure to marinate the fruit for at least 36 hours to allow it to fully take on the fragrance of the warming spices.
- 3 large grapefruit, peeled and cut into segments (1¼ cups)
- 1 cup full-bodied, dry red wine (preferably from the Rhone valley)
- ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
- ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. lavender honey
- ⅔ cup plus ¼ cup sugar, divided
- 6 whole green cardamom pods, lightly cracked
- 1½ tsp. whole black peppercorns
- ½ medium cinnamon stick
- 24 oz. fresh organic cranberries
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup cider vinegar
- ⅓ cup fresh orange juice
- 1 Tbsp. finely grated orange zest
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 1 bunch chervil, coarsely chopped (¼ cup)
- 2 bunches watercress, rinsed and dried well and torn into bite-sized sprigs (4 cups)
- 2 Tbsp. walnut oil
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
Marinate the grapefruit: To a medium bowl or heatproof plastic container, add the grapefruit segments and place it by the stove. In a small pot over medium heat, add the wine, vinegar, honey, ¼ cup sugar, cardamom, peppercorns, and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally to dissolve the honey, until the liquid reduces by about ⅓ and becomes syrupy, 7–10 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully and quickly pour the hot syrup over the grapefruit segments. Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for at least 36 hours or up to 3 days.
Meanwhile, make the cranberry relish: To a food processor, add the cranberries, the remaining ⅔ cup sugar, cider vinegar, orange juice and zest, and olive oil. Pulse 5–6 times to combine and coarsely chop the cranberries. (Do not process to a puree.) Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.
When you are ready to serve the salad, toss the chervil into the cranberry mixture. In a large, shallow salad bowl, toss the watercress with the walnut oil and season lightly with salt. Arrange the greens an even layer over the bottom of the bowl, then mound the cranberry mixture in the center. Use a slotted spoon or a large fork to transfer the grapefruit pieces from the marinade to the top of the salad. Sprinkle with walnuts and drizzle the whole dish with a few splashes of the reserved marinating liquid and serve immediately.