An ombré of winter citrus – grapefruit, orange, tangerine & kumquat – is sprinkled with the Mediterranean flavors of rosewater, honey, olive oil, cinnamon, walnuts, dates, and mint. This citrus salad works as well for an appetizer as it does for breakfast, brunch, or dessert.
California Citrus & Sunshine
Some days I feel so lucky to live in San Francisco. This weekend the city was bathed in winter sunlight, sparkling clean after a rainy week, the air crisp and fresh. On Thursday I went to the Mission for a comedy show hosted by a friend. There we watched another friend get proposed to by her girlfriend before the entire audience. The next day I had lunch at Slanted Door in SF’s legendary Ferry Building with a handful of blogger friends. Then in the evening, I sipped wine at a new spot in the Dogpatch with Emma over crispy fries, grilled mushrooms, and felafel.
Over the weekend I attended a salsa dance festival with two friends, dancing salsa, son, cha cha, and rhumba until my legs begged me to stop. The next day we all went to soak our sore muscles at Imperial Spa before meeting another blogger friend for an upscale Indian dinner.
On weekends like these, I never want to leave this city.
Citrus Salad Goes Mediterranean
Citrus is another reason I love California. This vibrant citrus salad was inspired by one I had at another favorite SF spot – Kokkari Estiatorio – a classic Greek restaurant that’s been around for decades. The spacious restaurant books up weeks in advance but a table is well worth the wait. The menu boasts a few gluten free vegetarian gems, including these gigantes beans that I adapted a couple of years ago.
Recently my lovely friend and assistant Bebe took me to Kokkari to celebrate my birthday. My birthday’s in December but I don’t usually get around to celebrating until January when the holiday craze has passed. This turned out to be fortunate as they’d just put the most divine citrus salad on the menu. Citrus slices were simply sprinkled with rosewater, chopped dates, candied walnuts, and cinnamon. The dish was beguiling in its simplicity, reminding us of baklava in salad form, with plenty of bright freshness from citrus fruits.
Back at home during a shoot one day we recreated the salad. Slices of blood orange, cara cara orange, tangerine, kumquat, and grapefruit formed a pretty base. We added a few of our own twists as well. We drizzled the fruit with honey in lieu of candying the nuts, added a pour of olive oil and flecks of flaky salt to play up the savory side of things. And we topped it all with a shower of fresh mint leaves.
Citrus Salad All Day Long
This citrus fruit salad works as well for a pre-dinner appetizer as it does for breakfast, dessert, or even a midday snack. It would make a stunning addition to a brunch buffet. The rose and honey play up the floral notes in the citrus, the mint adds a topnote of herby freshness, and the dates lend chewy sweetness. Olive oil adds peppery notes and walnuts lend substance and crunch. It’s a beguiling way to enjoy winter’s citrus.
You can use any sweet citrus you like here – tangerines and oranges of any variety, mandarinquats instead of or in addition to kumquats, grapefruits of any color, pomelos, oro blancos, etc. I especially enjoy grapefruit in the mix for some slightly bitter, very floral notes that help sharpen the flavors.
If you find yourself missing the fruits of warmer seasons, make up a platter of this bright citrus fruit salad and revel in the jewels of winter.
Looking for more citrus recipes?
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Citrus Fruit Salad with Rosewater, Dates, and WalnutsPrint Recipe / Pin Recipe
- 1 medium pink grapefruit
- 1 large cara cara or navel orange
- 2 medium blood oranges
- 2 medium tangerines
- 5 medium kumquats, thinly sliced, seeds removed
- 2-3 large medjool dates, pitted and thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup toasted walnut halves, broken into quarters or coarsely chopped
- Handful mint leaves
- ½ - 1 teaspoon rosewater
- 1-2 tablespoons fruity olive oil
- 2-3 teaspoons honey
- A few pinches cinnamon
- Flaky salt
- Prepare the citrus by first cutting off each end. Stand each fruit upright and use a small, serrated knife to pare away the peel and any white pith, following the curves of the fruit. Slice the fruit crosswise into ¼ - inch thick rounds.
- Arrange the citrus rounds on a platter in order of color.
- Top with the kumquat slices, date slices, walnuts, and mint, then sprinkle with the rosewater and drizzle with olive oil, honey, cinnamon, and salt. Taste, adding more flavorings if you like.
- Serve right away or let sit 10-30 minutes to marinate slightly.