Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Pomelo Salad from the great Yotam Ottolenghi. Wake up everybody at your table with this unique salad.
Oh my gosh, do you need a little perking up in the kitchen these days? Are you all casseroled out? I’m refreshing my palette this week with a new recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s latest cookbook Plenty More. He’s pushing my boundaries like he always does and making me rethink my definition of ‘salad’ itself. This salad features roasted Brussels sprouts… ok, I’m totally on board for that. And they’re paired with pomelo…that’s a nice, unusual touch. Oh, and they’re marinated in a cinnamon and star anise syrup?…wow! I’m telling you, if you’re falling asleep in your own kitchen these days, this recipe will wake things up.
When I make a recipe from a magazine, cookbook, or another blog, my instinct is usually to play around with it a little bit, make it my own, or at least to adjust it to my taste, and to the particular ingredients that I have around. I don’t do that with Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes. His recipes take me on a culinary journey and I don’t want to miss the boat! Was I tempted to substitute a grapefruit from my backyard tree for the pomelo? You bet. And did I want to make a special trip to the store for the star anise and fresh cilantro? Nope. But I stuck to the recipe and I’m so glad I did.
Pomelo is one of those foods that has such a coat of armor that some people feel, why bother? The citrus fruit has a super thick bitter rind that can sometimes even outweigh the pale pink flesh inside. The pomelo is actually considered to be one of the four original wild citrus fruits (citron, mandarin, and lime are the other three) — from which all of the other citrus fruits we now know have been derived over the years. What I really love about the pomelo is the taste. It is milder and sweeter than grapefruit, I think it almost has a floral note, not tangy like most citrus. Anyway, that’s the long way around saying that it’s worth getting through all that peel for. I bought one pomelo from the farmer’s market, and one at the grocery store, and the grocery store version, below, had less peel and more fruit. I’m guessing they’re breeding them for that now. Most stores are carrying them these days, so keep an eye out next time you’re in the produce section!
And anise? Hmmm, I’m not a huge fan of it, but then again I didn’t grow up eating it, and my experience is limited. The way it’s used in this recipe is unusual and subtle, and – surprise – I loved it! The flavor of the syrup is indescribable.
Be sure to save a few bites of the marinated pomelo aside to enjoy as is, it’s so delicious it would make a great dessert or base for an exotic fruit cocktail.
I think his salad works best when you eat it room temperature, just after it is made. You can refrigerate it and eat it later, but I think the flavors and textures pop when it’s not cold. Plus fresh cilantro is notoriously delicate, all you have to do is look at it and it wilts. If you do make the salad ahead, be sure to toss with the cilantro at the last minute.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 5 star anise
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 large pomelo
- 1 lb Brussels sprouts
- 2 shallots
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- large handful cilantro leaves
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp reserved pomelo marinade
- 1/4 tsp salt
- set oven to 425F
- Put the sugar, 7 tablespoons of water, the cinnamon stick and star anise in a small saucepan. Stir to dissolve the sugar, and then bring to a simmer. Cook gently for 1 minute, then take off the heat and add the lemon juice. Set aside to cool.
- Cut the thick skin off the pomelo, being sure to get off all the white part, and segment the fruit with a small serrated knife. Cut the fruit into bite sized pieces and put in a bowl.
- Pour the cooled syrup over the grapefruit and let sit for about an hour. After that, remove the cinnamon and anise, and strain the pomelo, reserving the liquid.
- Rinse and trim the stem ends off the Brussels sprouts. Peel and chop the shallots into bite sized pieces. Lay the sprouts and the shallots out on a baking sheet. Toss with 3 tablespoons of the oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and black pepper to taste. Roast for about 20 minutes, and then set aside to cool.
- Make the dressing by whisking together all the ingredients. Taste to adjust any of the ingredients if you like.
- Put the sprouts and shallots, along with the pomelo and cilantro, in a large salad bowl Toss with just enough of the dressing to coat everything without soaking it.
- Serve right away.
- I have other salads from the great Yotam Ottolenghi on the blog, check out this Saffron Chicken and Herb Salad for another unexpected and explosive combination of flavors.