Anna Jones’s winter citrus salad recipe| The Modern Cook | Life and style


Seasonal citrus takes centre stage in this salad of sweet oranges and bitter leaves, and in a simple south Indian lemon pickle to enjoy year-round

Anna Jones's winter citrus salad






Look sharp: Anna Jones’s winter citrus salad.
Photograph: Emma Lee for the Guardian

Now is the time for citrus. Clementines, blood oranges, heady bergamots, perfect leafy lemons, plump grapefruit, blush and Seville oranges all abound. Citrus is ever-present in my cooking, most often lemon or lime, but during this time of plenty I’ll dress my salads in a vinaigrette made with clementines. Or I’ll throw a halved blood orange into my tray of vegetables, then once its edges have browned and its fruit has turned jammy, I’ll squeeze its juice over the veg. But this week, citrus gets top billing: a salad of sharp-sweet oranges and crisp bitter lettuces; and an ultra-simple lemon pickle inspired by south India. Pickling the season’s lemons makes them a year-round favourite to enjoy with curries, stews and flatbreads.

A winter citrus salad

Prep 5 min
Cooking 45 min
Serves 4

4 big handfuls bitter lettuce leaves such as radicchio, castelfranco and endives
6 clementines or blood oranges
2 slices good bread
Good olive oil
Salt and black pepper
A mixture of soft herbs (tarragon, mint and basil, say)

For the dressing
4 garlic cloves, peeled
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped

Heat a griddle pan over a high heat. Wash and dry the lettuces and tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Cut all the clementines in half.

To make the dressing, put the garlic in a small pan, add the balsamic vinegar, 100ml water and the chopped rosemary, then cook for five minutes, until the garlic is soft. When you have a thick, dark dressing, mash the garlic into it and put to one side to cool a little.

Back to the griddle: char the bread on both sides, then, when cool, tear into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, tossing to coat.

Next, put the halved clementines on the griddle, cut side down, and leave them to pick up some colour, charring the edges. Transfer to a plate and leave to cool a little before peeling them from their skins and breaking into pieces.

Pile the leaves into a bowl with the oranges and torn bread, toss in half the dressing, then drizzle the rest on top. Scatter with the herbs and serve while everything is still warm.

Easy lemon pickle

This has taken over from mango chutney or lime pickle as the condiment of choice in our house. It’s very simple to make; just be sure to cut your lemons quite finely.

If you use coconut oil, your finished chutney will have a cloudy finish once cooled: this doesn’t worry me, but if you’d prefer a classic chutney look, use groundnut oil.

The spicy sidekick: Anna Jones’s easy lemon pickle



The spicy sidekick: Anna Jones’s easy lemon pickle Photograph: Emma Lee for the Guardian

Prep 15 min
Cooking 45 min
Makes a large jar

6 unwaxed lemons
2 small fresh red chillies
2 tbsp coconut or groundnut oil
2 tbsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 small handful fresh curry leaves (optional)
4 tbsp caster sugar
Salt

Wash and finely chop the lemons, discarding any pips, then deseed and finely slice the chilli.

Heat the oil in a small pan over a low heat and add the mustard, fennel and cumin seeds. When they start to pop, throw in the curry leaves (if using) and fry for a minute or so until the smell is wonderful.

Add the lemons, sugar, chilli and a pinch of salt. Turn up the heat to medium and cook for around 15-20 minutes, until thick, sticky and the lemons have softened.

Leave to cool, then store in a sterilised jar in the fridge, where it will keep for up to a month. Serve with poppadoms, plain yoghurt and a red onion and tomato salad as a snack, or on the side of any curry or rice dish.

  • Food and prop styling: Anna Jones. Food assistant: Anna Shepherd



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