Salad showcases citrus fruit for the holidays
'Tis the season for citrus fruit, and our local markets are packed with an abundance of oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes. With such great variety, we'd like to help you find some easy and creative ways to showcase citrus this holiday season.
’Tis the season for citrus fruit, and our local markets are packed with an abundance of oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes. With such great variety, we’d like to help you find some easy and creative ways to showcase citrus this holiday season.
When I was growing up, each Christmas Santa would leave a large navel orange in our stockings. Later on Christmas Day, my mother would have us stud each orange with about two dozen whole cloves and add them to a pot of apple cider with a cinnamon stick to steep over low heat for about 20 to 30 minutes. Our home would be filled with the aroma of Christmas, and the cider would fill us with warmth after coming in from playing outside.
Citrus can also be used decoratively, either to enhance a plate presentation or table centerpiece. Tony loves to create simple, yet elegant, carvings of lemon and lime halves to accent a platter or seafood, which can be done by slicing the fruit in half and making Charlie-Brown-style cuts along the fruit. With grapefruit and oranges, he adds a little more detail to provide a lovely flourish to larger platters or buffet tablescapes.
For the past 10 years, our Christmas Eve dinner has included a gorgeous Sicilian Christmas Salad showcasing blood, navel and cara cara oranges with sliced fennel, red onion and green olives. This recipe appeared in our column two years ago, and you can find it today on our blog at http://thelostitalian.areavoices.com .
Ben, our executive chef at Sarello’s, has also taken inspiration from the season and created a refreshing salad featuring ruby red grapefruit that has had everyone clamoring for the recipe. The greens for this salad need to be able to support some heavier ingredients, so Chef Ben selected romaine lettuce for its firm and hearty nature, as well as its crunchy texture.
The salad is topped with cooked shrimp, grapefruit sections, thin slices of Granny Smith apple, and cashews. The green apples brighten up the salad with their color and crispy tartness, and the cashews offer a lovely sweet crunchiness. The shrimp and grapefruit naturally complement each other with their gentle pink colors, and their softer textures provide a nice balance to the crunch of lettuce, nuts and apple. To save time, Tony recommends buying the shrimp already cooked. Citrus and seafood are always a great pairing, but salmon or chicken would both make good substitutes.
Tony prefers to use a tomato knife to section the grapefruit, as its serrated edge makes it the ideal tool for this purpose. When purchasing grapefruit, look for ones that are firm and springy to the touch, and heavy in the hand, as these will be the juiciest.
The final touch to this salad is a delicious grapefruit vinaigrette, which consists of grapefruit juice, extra virgin olive oil, a little sugar and apple cider vinegar. The grapefruit juice and sugar are cooked in a small pot over medium-high heat until reduced by half, and the vinegar and olive oil are added once it has cooled down. The vinaigrette can be prepared at least a week in advance and refrigerated until ready to use.
It’s nearly time for us to begin preparing our Christmas Eve feast, so we will leave with our warmest wishes for a very Merry Christmas holiday, from our home to yours.
Chef Ben’s Grapefruit & Shrimp Winter Salad
2 heads chopped romaine lettuce (or 1 package romaine hearts)
2 ruby red grapefruit, cut into sections
2 Granny Smith apples, peel on, cut into thin slices or matchstick strips
10 pieces cooked and chilled shrimp, medium diced
½ cup crushed cashews
1 cup grapefruit vinaigrette
½ cup ruby red grapefruit juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
Prepare the vinaigrette first. In a small sauce pot, add the grapefruit juice and sugar and stir to combine. Cook over medium-high heat until the liquid is reduced by half, about three to five minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for up to one week.
Add the vinegar and olive oil and use a whisk to mix well. Toss with the romaine lettuce and then top with the shrimp, grapefruit sections, sliced apple and crushed cashews.
Home with the Lost Italian is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owns Sarello’s restaurant in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their 10-year-old son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at dine@ sarellos.com. All previous recipes can be found at http://thelostitalian.areavoices.com .