If you are like me, you have been walking by the extra-large, grapefruitlike pomelos in the store for years, never feeling quite up for venturing into unknown citrus territory, especially when there are so many more familiar, less intimidatingly huge favorites to snap up this time of year.
If that’s the case then, like me, you have been missing out.
Pomelos are wonderful! They taste something like grapefruit, with a pleasant tartness, but mellower — without much bitterness and with a sweet, candylike aroma. It is the largest, and one of the original, citrus species, but don’t let the size deter you; the fruit inside is not much larger than that of a grapefruit. They are so big because their pith is quite thick, but it is easy enough to get to the tasty flesh within and enjoy just as you would a grapefruit or orange.
This recipe uses the blush-colored pomelo segments in a classic, composed salad with crisp, thinly sliced fennel and red onion dressed simply in extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, topped with a crunch of toasted pistachios and mint leaves. It’s a delightful dish that offers a refreshing contrast to winter’s rich stews and roasts, and it is confirmation that there are always more healthful culinary delights to be discovered.
Fennel pomelo salad with pistachios
Any type of orange or grapefruit would work here, but this recipe takes advantage of an often overlooked variety, pomelo.
1 pomelo or red grapefruit
¼ cup shelled, unsalted pistachios
1 to 2 large fennel bulbs, cored and thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
¼ small red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup packed fresh mint leaves
Cut the pomelo or red grapefruit into segments by slicing off the top and bottom of the fruit. Stand it on one flat end, then cut down the sides following the curve of the fruit to remove the peel and white pith. Working over a bowl, use a paring knife to detach the fruit segments from their membranes.
Toast the pistachios in a small, dry skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until fragrant, shaking the pan to avoid scorching. Cool completely, then coarsely chop.
Toss the sliced fennel and onion with 2 tablespoons of the oil, the lemon juice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Divide the mixture among individual plates, then top each with some citrus segments (reserve any accumulated juices for another use), the mint and toasted pistachios. Drizzle each portion with 1 teaspoon of the remaining oil and serve.
Makes 4 servings. Nutrition per serving: 190 calories, 3 grams protein, 15 grams carbohydrates, 15 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, no cholesterol, 105 milligrams sodium, 4 grams dietary fiber, 9 grams sugar.