A sweet and sour citrus salad with juicy blood orange, grapefruit and citrus-cured fennel. Topped with tart, fruity pomegranate molasses and candied citrus peel.
Serves 4 (starter/side)
Prep/cook time: 20 minutes, plus a few hours rest time
- 1 small or 1/2 large fennel bulb
- 2 pink or red grapefruits
- 1 blood orange
- 4 tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 4 big pinches sour candied citrus peel
Technique: The best pomegranate molasses is made by boiling down pure pomegranate juice to make a sweet, tart, fruity, sticky syrup. Avoid ones containing other sweeteners and preservatives. The best, most cost effective options are found in Asian and Middle Eastern supermarkets.
- Slice the fennel as thinly as possible and add to a medium bowl.
Technique: A mandoline is an essential piece of kitchen equipment. It slices very thinly and evenly, so much quicker than cutting by hand. Just be careful of your fingers 😀
- Add the juice of 1 grapefruit, cover and marinate in the fridge for a few hours, up to overnight.
Technique: Curing vegetables in an acid (like lemon juice) effectively 'cooks' the vegetable, similar to the treatment of fish in ceviche. This softens the vegetable, breaking down tough fibres and radically improving the texture.
- Segment the remaining grapefruit and blood orange, discarding all the pith and peel.
Technique: Segmenting citrus fruit removes all the peel and pith, leaving only the sweet, tender flesh. Top and tail the fruit, then use a sharp knife to cut between the flesh and pith, removing as much of the outside as possible. Holding the fruit in one hand over a bowl, cut each segment out of the membrane and drop into the bowl. When you are left with only the central membrane, squeeze all the remaining juice into the bowl and discard the membrane. The segments can be stored in the juice in the fridge for up to 1 day.
- Either arrange all the salad components on a large platter for people to share or assemble the salads individually with a small heap of marinated fennel, 2 grapefruit segments and 2 blood orange segments on each plate.
- Drizzle everything with the pomegranate molasses, sprinkle with a little flaky sea salt and top with the candied citrus peel (if using).
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- A fresh, elegant first course for a winter celebration dinner.
- Pairs well with Middle Eastern-style dishes.
- The salad is best eaten immediately, but leftovers can can stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Not suitable for freezing.
- Can swap other types of citrus fruit, but the result could be sweeter or sourer, depending on your choices. You could try swapping the pomegranate molasses for balsamic vinegar.
food styling tips
The more time you take to precisely segment the citrus, the more attractive this salad will be.