It’s late Autumn, and it is such a beautiful season. Included in the abundant bounty available before we head into Winter is the first of the citrus. As soon as they are available, we look for Pomelo and Ruby Grapefruit for some tangy salads before the blanket of Winter douses all thoughts of salads and other cold foods.
Nopi, a different style of book from Ottolenghi, one based on recipes from his restaurant, has a Citrus Salad perfectly suited for this season. It pairs the citrus with bitter greens and a salsa made from some oven-toasted almonds whizzed with spices and seeds into a salsa. Perfect! He calls it a punchy, crunchy salsa.
This would make a perfect pre-cursor to a main meal, or as a side salad to other dishes – try it with dishes that incorporate grilled items, simple tofu dishes, or a soft and gentle grain or lentil dish.
Or would you like other Belgian Endive (Witlof) dishes? Try Belgian Endive Cooked in its Own Juice and Butter, Grilled Witlof Salad with Dill and Shallots, and Caramelised Belgian Endive with a Cheesy Topping.
I had to make a few substitutes. Despite visiting 4 shops in 3 suburbs, I could not find witlof or radicchio. I suspect that the Pomelo and Witlof and Radicchio are not in season at the same time, but even at the best of times they are difficult to source locally. It is the same with watercress. It is impossible to get watercress here. These are ingredients I pick up when I happen to be in the area of some specialised markets.
So they were substituted with nasturtium leaves. rocket and a few salad leaves from the garden. I added pickled cumquats (another citrus) for that bitter tang that the missing greens might have added. Rather than mix the salsa with the greens and citrus, I added it to the plate next to the citrus. It is a little like a lovely dukkha moistened with some vinegar and olive oil. Nice! I have to say that the salad is utterly even with the changes. The original Ottolenghi version is shown below. Tailor it as you need or want.
Three Citrus Salad with Green Chilli, Ginger and Crunchy Almond Salsa
2 oranges (500g)
1 pink grapefruit (400g)
1 large pomelo (1kg)
1 small radicchio, trimmed and cut into 1cm-wide wedges
1 Belgian endive (witlof), trimmed and cut lengthways into 8 wedges
50g tender leaf watercress (use nasturtium leaves or rocket leaves if you can’t find watercress)
80g almonds, skin on
5 green chillies, deseeded and thinly sliced
80g crystalised ginger, finely diced
2 Tblspn coriander seeds, pan-toasted for a minute and lightly crushed
1 Tblspn fennel seeds, pan-toasted for a minute and lightly crushed
1.5 Tblspn poppy seeds
50ml good sherry vinegar
75ml olive oil
Coarse sea salt and black pepper
Heat the oven to 160C (140C fan forced). Start with the salsa. Spread the almonds on a small baking tray and roast for 20 minutes, until nicely toasted. Remove and, when cool enough to handle, roughly chop. Transfer to a bowl, add the remaining salsa ingredients, a quarter teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Mix and set aside.
With a small, sharp knife, top and tail the oranges. Stand each orange on a board and cut down the sides, following the fruit’s natural line, to remove the skin and pith. Cut widthways into 0.5cm rounds, then cut each round into quarters. Do the same with the grapefruit, but cut each round into sixths. Put the grapefruit and oranges in a big bowl.
Peel the pomelo with a sharp knife, divide the fruit into segments and use the knife to remove all the pith and membrane. Break the segments into 2cm chunks and add to the bowl with half the salsa and all the leaves. Mix gently, arrange on a large platter, spoon over the remaining salsa and serve.
recipe notes and alternative
Don’t worry if you don’t have all three citrus fruits suggested: so long as you keep the total weight of fruit the same, the dish works well with just two. When pomelo is not in season, use some white grapefruit.
I added some pickled cumquats. I suspect that 1 or 2 fresh ones of the sweeter cumquat variety would go beautifully in the salad. That makes it a Four Citrus Salad.