Friday, February 05, 2016

Plenty More: Pomelo Salad

I am not a salad girl.  When all the other ladies are ordering lunch, and it's one salad after another on the waiter's notepad, I do not join the crowd.  I'm not sure when exactly I started disliking salad, but I think it has a lot to do with the absolutely miserable salads you used to get in most restaurants.  White iceburg lettuce, unripe tomatoes, everything looking like it has spent the better part of a month in the walk-in.  No thank you.  That, and the fact that I'm generally hungry again about an hour later, which, depending on exactly where you are and what you are doing, is not exactly convenient.

All this said, when I picked up a copy of Plenty More, written by the god of vegetable-dishes-that-carnivores-might-actually-want-to-eat, Yotam Ottolenghi, this beautiful salad caught my eye.  It also certainly helps that I've been eyeballing those big, beautiful pomelos in the store, trying to figure out what to do with one.  I will say that actually peeling the pomelo is not something I'm anxious to repeat anytime soon, but this salad is very fresh, very bright, and very delicious.

Note:  I used light brown sugar, as I could not find my palm sugar in my pantry anywhere.  Unfortunate that the palm sugar has gone MIA, but the salad was still delicious.

Pomelo Salad
From Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi

5 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
¼ cup palm sugar
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
2 star anise pods
1 cinnamon stick, broken in two
1 (1¼-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips
2 red chiles, seeded and cut into thin strips

1 large pomelo (about 2¼ pounds)
1 small mango, peeled and cut into thin strips
⅔ cup cilantro leaves
⅓ cup mint leaves
4 baby red or regular shallots, thinly sliced
2 cups watercress leaves
2 teaspoons peanut oil
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 teaspoons black sesame seeds
¼ cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped

First make the marinade.  Place the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan and warm gently, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.  Remove from the heat, add the orange blossom water, star anise, cinnamon, ginger, and chiles and set aside.

Use a sharp knife to peel the pomelo skin.  Divide into segments and use the knife to remove and discard the pith and membrane.  Break the fruit segments into 1 or 2 bite-size chunks, put in a shallow dish, and pour in the marinade.  Leave for at least 30 minutes - the longer, the better.

Remove and discard the star anise and cinnamon.  Drain and save the marinade.  Place the pomelo, ginger, and chiles in a large bowl and add 3 tablespoons of the reserved marinade along with the mango, cilantro, mint, shallots, watercress, peanut oil, lime juice, and ¼ teaspoon salt.  Gently toss, add more marinade, if needed, and then sprinkle with the sesame seeds and peanuts and serve.

Makes 4 servings

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