This Valentine’s Day, skip the reservations race and treat your special someone to a decadent homemade meal. To help you conquer the most important step — menu planning — ICE Chef Robert Ramsey came up with the perfect, balanced, veggie-forward three-course meal, beginning with a winter citrus salad, followed by fig and ricotta toasts and ending with a rich truffle mushroom tart. The only things missing are a bottle of wine and a good playlist.
By Robert Ramsey — Chef Instructor, School of Culinary Arts
People often forget that citrus comes into season in the winter. This time of year, the fruit is at its sweetest, juiciest and most alluring…perfect for Valentine’s Day. If you can’t find every variety used in this recipe, use any mix of citrus fruit you desire. Here, we top it with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds, also a winter crop. According to legend, Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, is credited with planting the first pomegranate tree.
Winter Citrus Salad
Servings: Makes about two servings
1 navel orange
1 blood orange
1 ruby red grapefruit
½ medium red onion
½ fennel bulb
½ bunch fresh mint
Seeds of 1 pomegranate
4 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil
1-2 teaspoons crushed pink peppercorns
Maldon salt for finishing
- Peel all citrus using a paring knife. Make sure all white pith is removed.
- Cut citrus into various shapes — segments, wedges and slices add visual interest. Toss together in a mixing bowl and reserve at room temperature.
- Slice red onion and fennel very thinly. I like to use a Japanese mandolin to ensure even cuts. Add the fennel and onion to the citrus mixture. Sprinkle a good pinch of Maldon salt (or any large flake salt) and the pink peppercorns. Toss well and allow salad to sit for 15-20 minutes.
- While salad is sitting, rough chop or tear the mint, leaves only.
- Finish the salad by tossing the mint, olive oil, pomegranate seeds and citrus mixture together.
- Transfer to two plates, finish with a sprinkle of Maldon salt and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.
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