Grapefruit Salad (Pomelo Salad)
It's been raining so much this season in the Bay Area (California) that our garden has produced a lot of citrus. Our pomelo tree has been particularly prolific. I've been pleasantly surprised by their sweetness, and I knew I was on to something delicious.
Pomelos have a subtle sweetness that is greatly enhanced by the addition of certain spices. To make this salad, I gathered the pomelo segments in a large bowl and covered them with ginger, coriander, agave nectar, sesame oil and red Thai bird chiles. It's a refreshing way to begin or end a meal.
Yields: 6 servings3 pomelos
1 tablespoon Vietnamese mint, chopped
2 tablespoons Thai basil leaves, chopped
1 (1-inch) chunk fresh ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander, freshly ground
1 red Thai bird chile, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
¼ teaspoon sea salt (or regular salt)
¼ teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon agave nectar
2 teaspoons light sesame oil
Freshly grated ginger: Clean the ginger root and remove any dirt. Peel the ginger root with a paring knife (or the edge of a spoon). Grate the ginger with a fine mesh Microplane. Gather about 1 teaspoon of grated ginger root.
For the grapefruit salad dressing: In a large bowl, combine the ginger, mint, basil, ground coriander, red Thai chile, rice wine vinegar and agave nectar.
How to segment a citrus: Peel the fruit and divide it in half. Remove the membrane wall on one side around a segment. Apply a little pressure on the segment with your thumb to separate the segment along the next membrane (you could also use a paring knife but don't cut the fruit; use the knife as a separator). Free the segment and gently pull it away from the fruit, removing all the membrane. Repeat and remove the rest of the segments. This technique releases and spills less juice. Transfer the pomelo segments with as much as juice as possible into the bowl. Season with salt and white pepper. Drizzle with light sesame oil. Toss well until all the ingredients are coated with the dressing.
Serve in individual serving dishes at room temperature.
You can find Thai basil in Asian markets. It has a stronger, earthier flavor than regular sweet basil.
For an adult version, you can substitute Limoncello for the agave nectar.
Agave nectar is a natural sweetener. You can find it in specialty stores such as Whole Foods and in many regular grocery stores. In France, it's called agave honey. Unlike honey, agave nectar has a long shelf life and does not crystallize over time. Agave nectar is made out of the purified sap of cactus-like desert plants. If you can't find it, you could use palm sugar (you can buy this in Asian stores, at Costco or Trader Joe's), honey or granulated sugar.
For more crunch, you could add slightly toasted sesame seeds or roasted cashew nuts.Published By: on February 25, 2010.