In the dead of winter, citrus gives our plates one big zap of color and flavor. We deserve this in excess.
On snowbound days, I take refuge in our co-op's bounty of grapefruit (white, pink and ruby red), Cara Cara, navel and blood oranges, plus kumquats, limequats and tangerines. Arranged on a platter, these make an elegant first course, brunch side dish and an eye-catching dessert. Add a sprig of rosemary and a splash of prosecco, and this humble fruit is elevated in surprising ways.
Citrus salads with their sweet-tart flavors are an anecdote to the rich foods that define the holidays. There are no hard and fast rules for making these; just use what looks best at the market and be choosy. Look for citrus fruits that are firm and heavy for their size, avoiding any that are scarred or wrinkled. Store them in plastic bags in the refrigerator, where they'll stay fresh for about two weeks.
The easiest way to peel the larger oranges and grapefruits is to cut off both ends to create a flat surface. Place one cut end on the cutting board and then use a sharp knife to slice as close to the pulp as possible, working off the skin in strips and removing the bitter pith. Don't worry if a little of that pith is left behind. Trim the fruit and then slice into wheels or sections by cutting between the membranes.
Time allowing, prepare the fruit the night before and marinate it in the refrigerator with several sprigs of rosemary to add a refreshing herbal note. Finish with a little prosecco or dry white wine, a drizzle of fruity olive oil and a light sprinkle of coarse salt. Let winter rage outside, this salad brings a taste of sunshine to the table.
Serves 4 to 6.
Make this a day ahead so the rosemary infuses the citrus with its soft, piney notes. Just before serving, drizzle the salad with prosecco, a fruity olive oil and a sprinkle of coarse salt, a triumph over winter doldrums. From Beth Dooley.
• 2 pink or ruby grapefruit
• 3 Cara Cara oranges
• 3 navel oranges
• 1 large sprig fresh rosemary
• 2 tbsp. prosecco, dry white wine or rice wine vinegar
• 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
• Light sprinkle of coarse salt
With a serrated knife, peel all the fruit, removing the skin and pith.
Cut the fruit into 1/4-inch wheels and transfer the fruit and its juices to a bowl. Add the rosemary, cover, and store overnight in the refrigerator.
Arrange the slices onto a rimmed platter, drizzle with the prosecco and the olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt. Serve garnished with the rosemary sprig.
Beth Dooley is the author of "The Perennial Kitchen." Find her at bethdooleyskitchen.com.