Citrus Salad with Candied Walnuts and Dill

January 31, 2011

 

Categories:
Appetizers, Dinner, Local Eating, Lunch, Recipes, Seasons, Side Dishes, Winter


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I made this last winter for the first time, and recently came back to it. It’s as bright as ever–please enjoy.

Thank you, citrus, for gleaming through these gray winter months. I’ve got an appointment to have my teeth cleaned soon, and I’m sure my dentist will admonish me for my very much eroded enamel, but what can I say? A grapefruit a day keeps the blues away. It certainly has for me. Scurvy will wreak no havoc on this body—I’ve eaten at least two citrus fruits each day since Christmas, without fail. And when I’m working my way through a box of Clementines, that number jumps to at least four.

moranges

I love the way my hands smell after a meal punctuated by citrus: I feel instantly awake, clean, refreshed. Mostly I eat it plain, peeled and pulled apart, segment by segment. But sometimes, when I’m in the mood to light candles, buy flowers and treat myself right, I’ll prepare myself a proper platter, presented with care and perhaps a few herbs.

This dish was inspired once again by Mark Bittman, who I am coming to like, more and more, despite the absence of a carrot cake recipe in his tome, “How to Cook EVERYTHING.” (I’m sorry Mark, but a carrot cake is definitely SOMETHING. Note to self: Never write a cookbook that sets such high expectations.)  He wrote about a citrus salad a few weeks ago in the Times, and I thought it was a nice idea: a good start to a lunch that might include some fine Greek yogurt drizzled with honey and cinnamon—which is often how I take my grapefruit, actually. It also makes a fine dessert, finished with a hunk of gingered dark chocolate. But then again, doesn’t everything end well with gingered dark chocolate?

txgrapefruits

On a recent Saturday afternoon after the farmer’s market, I decided to try my own rendition of Bittman’s sweet salad, putting to use some beautiful Texas-grown grapefruits and oranges. I had dill lying about and some walnuts and honey, so I candied the nuts and sprinkled some fine sprigs across the top of the sliced salad for garnish. A bit of green really adds to the look and the sweet, salty crunch of the walnuts is well worth the effort it takes to dress them up a little.

There is something to be said for eating with the eyes: other than the occasional grapefruit and avocado salad, I’ve rarely taken the time ‘present’ a grapefruit to myself, but oh did its careful slices look lovely when pricked with the tines of a silver fork. The little ritual made my Saturday afternoon something special: farm-to-table at its prettiest and most diginified. Get it while winter lasts…

closergrapefruits

Citrus Salad with Candied Walnuts and Dill

Serves 1

1 grapefruit
1 orange (try this with clementines, blood oranges or tangerines, also)
¼ c chopped walnuts (hazelnuts could be good…)
2 T honey, divided
2 T olive oil, divided
1 t white or red wine vinegar
½ tsp salt
dill for garnish (mint would work well also)

Prepare the dressing:

Mix honey and vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk in olive oil in a slow stream, until emulsified. Set aside.

Prepare the walnuts:

Place 1 T olive oil and 1 T honey in a sauté pan until hot.

Add walnuts and stir to coat.

Cook until brown, (this happens quickly) then remove from heat and set aside.

Prepare the salad:

Gently slice the rinds from the citrus fruits, and carefully slice into ¼” segments.

Arrange on a plate and drizzle with dressing.

Sprinkle with herbs and nuts and serve immediately.

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