I love how in the middle of the dark, cold, snowy winter, citrus season is at it’s peak. It’s like the universe is throwing us a bone – or lots of small, sunny, oddly round, and delicious bones to get us through the season. My enthusiasm for citrus is such that I actually put together a citrus tasting and had plans to do a post about the varieties at my local supermarket (it’s pretty impressive actually), but in the hurricane of holiday prep and activity, my tasting notes were lost. I can’t even remember the names of all the fruits, so…sorry.
However, I do remember one very important thing about the grapefruits I tried. Common wisdom dictates that ruby grapefruits are best and least bitter, but not this time! The Rio Star red grapefruit was less sweet and had thicker, more bitter membranes than the white variety I tried. Maybe it’s just this year’s batch, but if you can get your hands on Indian River white grapefruits, give them a go. Their flavor was more complex, more sweet, and the membranes were thinner with less bitterness than the red and pink varieties I’m used to.
So this salad is sort of an offbeat combination, but I’m really into it. If you like your citrus and you like the flavor of onions, you should definitely try them together. This salad is sweet and savory with sharpness from the onion, toasty richness from the roasted almonds, and heat from the copious amounts of black pepper added at the end. It’s complex and sophisticated, but in a totally approachable and delicious way.
By way of disclaimer, I should mention that my Iowa farm born-and-raised grandpa was the only person in the house who did not care for this salad. But he also regards things like avocado with suspicion, so make of that what you will.
Speaking of avocado, this dish is extra-amazing with a few buttery wedges tucked between the citrus and onion.
And is this salad resolution-friendly or what? Downright virtuous. Not to mention pretty. Throw it together this week and tell me what you think.
Citrus Salad With Toasted Almonds and Sliced Onion
– 2-5 types of your favorite citrus – I used white grapefruit, red grapefruit, naval oranges, tangerines, and blood oranges. If you have at least one type of orange and one type of grapefruit, you’re set. Plan on 1 to 1 1/2 fruits per person
-about half of a small red onion
-1/4-1/2 cup sliced almonds (depending on how much you like them and how big you’re going with the salad (I added more after taking the photos – couldn’t stand to cover up the ombre!))
-a few sprigs of parsley, chopped
-a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
-salt and plenty of fresh-cracked black pepper
1. Start by toasting your almonds (if they aren’t already) on a baking tray in a 350 degree oven until lightly brown and fragrant (5-10 minutes – keep an eye on it because they can go from toasted to scorched quickly).
2. Peel and slice your citrus into 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick slices. I like to peel them with a knife and remove all of the exterior pith, but if you peel them by hand that’s ok too.
3. Peel and slice red onion as thin as you possibly can. Rings are good, but half-moons work too, or even a tiny tiny dice.
4. Assemble salad by layering your citrus on a large platter, scatter onion slices, parsley, and almonds on top, drizzle with olive oil, and finish with a light sprinkle of salt and lots of pepper.
This salad improves in flavor as it sits, so if you can, prepare it up to a couple of hours before you serve it and let it sit at room temperature for the flavors to mingle. I like to make it before I start making my main course, so it has plenty of time to get good.