Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Citrus Pomegranate Fruit Salad

Individual Serving of Salad
Spring Colors with Last Harvest Fruits

Recipe adapted from Best of Sunset

Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be. As Seasonal Eating readers know, I’m crazy about retro cookbooks. The latest addition to my collection was published ‘way back in 1992. The Best of Sunset is a compilation of winning recipes from Sunset magazine’s not-so-distant past. Yet since Sunset has been serving up menu ideas since 1898, I suspect that this fruit salad recipe was first published earlier—around 1980 or a bit before. It’s from the years when honey-Dijon dressings suddenly appeared on menus everywhere, but we hadn’t learned to specify which “salad oil” they were made with. This salad is lightly dressed and even my friend Rox (not a big fan of mustard) rated it thumbs up.

Salad in Serving Bowl
Beautiful, Fresh Presentation
Originally an early winter recipe, in early spring I substitute apples—a more storage-friendly last-season fruit—for Fuyu persimmons. If pomegranates are too far out of season (I had an ancient one), try substituting chopped walnuts or some sliced early (or frozen from last summer) strawberries. I cut the recipe in half because in its original persimmon-y form, leftovers were unappealingly limp. Apples stay crisper than persimmons. Still, if you’re going to store the salad, drain the dressing and accumulated citrus liquids and store them separately from the salad. Pour some dressing onto leftovers as they are served.

Basket of apples, mandarins, and grapefruit, bowl of pomegranate seeds, two endives
All Healthful Ingredients
Like many Sunset recipes, this fruit salad requires a significant time commitment and a bit of finesse. Peeling the white membranes and fibers from the grapefruit and tangerines took me almost an hour. Slicing between the sections, so that none of the section “skins” go into the salad, requires a sharp knife and some precision. Pomegranates can be challenging, but here’s a video to simplify getting the seeds out. Essentially you cut the pom in half, then smack each half with a wooden spatula over a bowl. Once these tasks are done, it’s easy to whip up the dressing and assemble the salad.

Grapefruit sections cut from grapefruit without skins
Finessing the Citrus, Part 2
This basic citrus salad with classic honey mustard dressing practically begs for variations. Try using oranges, bananas, pineapples, or other fruits. The original recipe was topped with watercress, and I sometimes use a shredded radicchio topping.  If you’re brave, try a different vinegar, herb, or spice in the dressing. Post a comment if your variation rocks.

Closeup of Individual Fruit Salad
Refreshment for Eyes and Tastebuds
Sunny Citrus Fruit Salad
serves 6

½ large pomegranate
2 – 3 medium pink grapefruits
4 large tangerines or mandarins
3 large sweet red apples
2 bunches endive
1½ tbsp. cider vinegar
2 tbsp. walnut oil
1¼ tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. honey
1/8 tsp. dried tarragon

Hold pomegranate half over mixing bowl. Smack the outside surface with a wooden spatula or mixing spoon to dislodge the seeds into the bowl (video here). Remember that pomegranate juice can stain clothing. Remove any white membranes that fall into the bowl. Set aside. You will have about ½ cup.

Peel grapefruits and tangerines. Remove all of white membrane with paring knife. Set aside.

Reserve about 2 tbsp. of pomegranate seeds for topping. Cut apples into thin slices and cut each slice in half. Put into mixing bowl with remaining pomegranate seeds.

Hold each peeled grapefruit and tangerine over the mixing bowl. Cut between the “skins,” lift sections out, and add to bowl. Toss to coat apples with citrus juice.

Make dressing by combining cider vinegar, walnut oil, Dijon mustard, honey, and tarragon in immersion blender cup. Immersion blend until well mixed. Alternatively, you can crumble the tarragon and whisk the salad dressing ingredients together thoroughly.

Break endive leaves from head and line salad (serving) bowl.

With a slotted spoon, lift mixed fruits from mixing bowl, draining off citrus juices, and pile onto endive leaves. Rearrange endive leaves as needed. Continue until all fruit is piled onto the endive leaves.

Sprinkle with reserved pomegranate seeds. Top with dressing and serve immediately.

If you must store leftovers, drain liquid first. Add some dressing to each leftover serving before eating.

Fruit Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing on Top
Freshly Topped with Dressing

Finessing the Citrus, Part 1

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