The bright colors and vibrant flavors of citrus at peak flavor and sweetness arrive in winter, giving us a burst of winter sunshine and a needed boost to our jaded palates.
I love to serve them in salads, where they do double duty as a dressing ingredient. Paired with crunchy fennel and creamy mozzarella, you have a perfect appetizer or light supper dish that will give you summer vibes on the darkest and dullest winter day.
I purchase buffalo mozzarella and imported crème fraiche at Lombardi’s Mattituck. Pick up a can of excellent Partanna olive oil from Sicily when you are there.
4 Tbsp. crème fraîche
2 Tbsp. organic heavy cream 1 8 oz. ball of buffalo mozzarella
2 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of chili flakes
Whisk heavy cream and crème fraîche and set aside. Tear the mozzarella into small pieces and place on a shallow plate. Top with crème fraîche and heavy cream and place in the refrigerator to marinate for about 15-30 minutes. Remove from refrigerator and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of chili flakes
These excellent croutons are delicious with soup too, so be sure to make extra.
1 small sourdough boule
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
4-5 springs rosemary
fine sea salt
Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes. If bread is fresh, leave cubes at room temperature for a few hours to dry out a bit. Two-day old bread works best. Place olive oil and rosemary sprigs in a small pan and heat the olive oil gently until warm. Set aside for at least two hours for flavors to infuse. Place the bread on a heavy baking sheet and drizzle over the flavored olive oil and 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt, tossing to coat thoroughly. Place in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes, stirring the croutons after five minutes and checking to make sure they’re not over-browning. Remove and cool. Store in an airtight container if not using immediately.
This dressing pairs well with bitter winter salads such as escarole, endive and raddichio. It is also delicious slightly warmed and drizzled over grilled salmon.
1 Cara Cara or blood orange
half a meyer lemon or regular lemon 1 1/2 tsp. clear honey or more to taste
3 tsp Partanna extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. sherry or wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon of fine sea salt.
Whisk all ingredients together and set aside.
2 honey tangerines or three clementines
3 Cara Cara oranges
2 cups fennel ( about 1 large bulb, trimmed), shaved with a mandolin or a very sharp knife
1 large bunch of watercress, washed & dried.
citrus dressing (above)
Peel Cara Cara oranges with a very sharp knife so that all of the pith is removed. Cut crosswise into thin slices. Peel the honey tangerines and slice crosswise into rounds. Line a small platter with some of the fennel, add a layer of Cara Cara oranges, break up the tangerines into smaller segments and add those. Top with the remaining fennel and drizzle over the citrus dressing. Garnish with a generous amount of watercress and sprinkle on some course sea salt to taste. Serve with the marinated mozzarella and rosemary croutons.