Salad in the middle of winter?? Yep, because sometimes there’s too much stodge and I fancy eating something lighter.
Pomegranate and fennel are two of my favourite salad ingredients, especially this time of year when the pomegranates are typically coming from Turkey and are full of plump juicy seeds. I only discovered I liked fennel earlier this year when I tried it roasted with other vegetables. I had always assumed that because I don’t like aniseed or liquorice that I wouldn’t like fennel even though I already knew that I liked fennel seeds in bread etc, completely illogical. It was only after my mum (another aniseed avoider) told me she had roasted fennel with sausages and convinced me that it didn’t have a strong aniseed flavour, that I thought I’d better try it for myself. It’s delicious and I can’t believe I’d been missing out on such a fantastic vegetable for so long. Most of the time now when I buy fennel it’s to use raw in some kind of salad or slaw. I love how refreshingly crunchy it is, especially when served alongside a rich main course.
It’s funny how I like to think of myself as not being particularly fussy when it comes to food but it does seem to take me a while to try new things, especially if they remind me of something I don’t like as with fennel and aniseed. Honey pomelos look like an oversized grapefruit and I don’t particularly like grapefruit. Last Christmas mum served us smoked tuna carpaccio with pomelo and salad leaves as a starter and after initially being wary of the resemblance of the pomelo to grapefruit, I tried it and was pleasantly surprised. It has a much milder, sweeter flavour than grapefruit and worked beautifully with the rich flavour of the smoked tuna. Pomelos only seem to be available to buy in this country during autumn/winter so now is the time to try one if you haven’t had it before. When the first box arrived in mid October I knew I had to have a go at creating a delicious salad with pomelo as the star ingredient.
Pomelos originate in SE Asia and are quite large, typically about the size of a melon and have a very thick white pith surrounding the fruit. I’m not particularly skilled at segmenting citrus fruit neatly, I don’t eat oranges or grapefruit and there’s never any need to segment a lemon or a lime, so I opted to roughly chop my pomelo flesh for this salad. If you like candied peel, don’t discard the skin. I had a go at making candied pomelo peel a while ago, flavouring it with juniper and cardamom and it was outstanding but I didn’t take any photos. I need to make some more as it’s all gone and when I do I will remember to take photos so I can share the recipe for it.
- 1 honey pomelo
- 1 medium fennel bulb
- Seeds from half a pomegranate
- lemon juice
- Thinly slice the fennel and toss in a bowl with a little lemon juice to prevent discolouration.
- Remove all the flesh from the pomelo, discard the pith and roughly chop the flesh.
- Add the pomelo and fennel to a serving bowl and gently toss together then scatter over the pomegranate seeds.
For more fennel salad inspiration check out Becca’s fig and fennel salad with rice noodles and radishes.