After last month’s brunch party, I had a lot of citrus leftover. I mean a lot (like an entire bucket full) Needless to say, I probably went a bit overboard buying citrus, but I knew we’d be using citrus as part of the decorating and garnishes and didn’t want to run out.
What to do with it all? Well, I was just about marmaladed-out (having completed a few different recipes already for the Winter/Spring editions of That’s My Jam) so I tried to look beyond the jam for recipe inspiration.
This recipe was ultimately inspired by a local spot, Dozen Bakery, that served something similar on the side of a breakfast sandwich that I ordered the last time I went. It was the perfect light and fresh compliment to a rich, eggy sandwich. Their version had rosemary, which I like in theory but the big pieces of leaves were a bit too woody for my liking (I felt like I was picking sticks out of my teeth). So when I went to recreate the dish myself, I decided to use thyme instead. You could certainly use rosemary as well, I’d just suggest chopping it up as fine as you can (and you won’t need nearly as much as you would thyme as it’s a much stronger flavor).
The bright citrus is perfectly sweet on its own (good citrus doesn’t need any added sugar), tossed in a light vinaigrette that adds just enough flavor, with a sprinkle of sea salt, fresh thyme, and poppyseeds for crunch.
This recipe is a perfect side dish any time of day. It’d be equally great served for brunch, lunch, or dinner. We’ve eaten it a few times now, on the side of roasted chicken, baked trout, and a tuna fish sandwich for lunch.
That’s what I call a versatile recipe.
I’ve been having fun lately shooting in the direct sun. I feel like I’ve always sought out the soft light, that ethereal backlight that makes food look, well, pretty. But I’ve found myself bored with my photography lately, moreso the photography process, frustrated and feeling stuck and out of fresh ideas.
Turns out basking in the sun is proving to be the perfect remedy for a photography rut, at least for me. The harsh, graphic shadows and strong highlights that I’ve been getting when shooting in direct sunlight is tickling my fancy in just the right way lately, especially for shiny, glossy things like citrus fruit and gooey chocolate glaze: sunlight makes it sparkle, simple as that. It’s harder than soft light shooting for sure, as with higher highs and lower lows the exposure is tricky to get right. Also, because the angle of the sun is changing by minute by minute and day by day, I have to keep moving my little cart around the living room to avoid the shadows of the window frames. But overall, I’m enjoying the challenge, doing something different and out of the box is making me enjoy photography again. I’ll take it!
The hardest part of this salad is preparing the citrus. If you peeled and sliced the citrus, you’d end up with bits of membrane that get stuck in your teeth. Trust me, I did that the first time and it wasn’t good. Rather, if you want pieces of citrus for salads and the like, supreming is really the only option (and yes, it is both noun and a verb: a supreme of orange, to supreme an orange; pronounced su-prem [rhymes with them], not su-preme [like the 60s girl band]. Thank the French for that one I assume.)
First, you want to cut off the top and the bottom of the citrus, until you see the flesh. Set the orange flat side down on your cutting board. Then cut off the peel, cutting in strips from the top to the bottom. Ideally you want to remove all the peel and pith and as little of the flesh as possible.
Next, hold the citrus in your palm and make a cut along one segment, just inside the membrane, to the center of the fruit. Then cut along the inside of the other membrane, meeting your other cut in the center and forming a wedge-shaped piece of fruit. Remove any seeds you may encounter along the way.
As you work, hold your fruit over a bowl to catch all the juices. That juice is good stuff, and even though you’ll only need 1 tablespoon of it for the dressing, don’t let it go to waste. You can use it to make more salad dressing (my favorite kind, I like to keep a container of it in the fridge at all times during citrus season) or just pour it into a glass and savor every last drop.
As much as I’m looking forward to spring and summer, I really do love winter citrus. It’s one of the only things that makes these colder months bearable, in my opinion. Make the most of it while you still can!
Winter Citrus Salad
This bright and fresh citrus salad features a simple vinaigrette, fresh thyme, and poppy seeds. It’s a perfect light side dish for chicken or fish.
- 2 grapefruits
- 2 oranges
- 3-4 blood oranges
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
- Segment the citrus by first cutting off the top and bottom (so you have a flat surface to work with). Run your knife under the peel in strips from top to bottom, around the curve of the orange, to remove the peel and pith while leaving as much of the flesh as possible.
- Holding the citrus in your hand over a bowl (to catch the juices). Using a small serrated or pairing knife, cut along the inside of the membrane of each segment, then on the other side, creating a wedge shaped piece of citrus between the membranes. Repeat with the rest of the fruit, removing seeds as you go. Place segments in a separate bowl, then squeeze out remaining juice from the membranes (you can reserve the rest of the juice for another purpose or just drink it, good stuff!)
- In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon of citrus juice with mustard, vinegar, and salt. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking vigorously until emulsified and smooth.
- Gently toss citrus segments with dressing until evenly coated. Divide among serving bowls. Sprinkle with fresh thyme and poppy seeds.