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Citrus Crudo with Shaved Fennel Salad

Citrus crudo with shaved fennel salad is a stunning dish bursting with bright, eye-catching color and fresh, ambrosial flavor. This dish is so pleasing and versatile that I’ve served it at all stages of a meal. It’s a stimulating first course, a unique salad course, the perfect mid-menu palate cleanser, a counterpoint to heavy meat dishes, and makes for a refreshing conclusion as a dessert course. Whenever and wherever I serve citrus crudo with shaved fennel salad, rave reviews always follow.

Let’s talk about crudo. Classically, crudo is a composed dish of raw fish, seafood or meat served with a simple topping or dressing. Cooks are artists; as artists tend to do, we have taken artistic liberty and reinterpreted the classic crudo to include fruits and vegetables. Serving fruits and vegetables “crudo style” allows a cook to transforms the usual salad mélange of haphazardly thrown together ingredients into a polished, nuanced dish.

To be completely honest, as wonderful as this dish is, I’ve been on the fence about sharing the recipe because it involves multiple steps, which can be intimidating to many people. Since you’re reading this, I’ve obviously decided to share the recipe – with good reason. First of all, it’s too delicious not to pass on. Second, even though there are several steps to follow, they are all simple and result in an impressive dish you’ll be excited to eat and proud to serve. Third, I know you can do it!

COMPONENTS (MISE EN PLACE)

  • Make the syrup
  • Candy the citrus peel
  • Segment the citrus
  • Prep the fennel
  • Plate
  • Garnish

PINOT GRIGIO AND THYME SYRUP

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 ½ cups pinot grigio
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 4-6 good sized sprigs (extra for garnish)
  • 2 3-inch strips of lemon rind, washed and scrubbed (use “Y” peeler to remove the rind from the fruit)
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey (preferably wildflower)

Directions

  1. Combine all syrup ingredients, except the honey, in a medium stainless-steel saucepan. Bring to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat.
  2. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes or until the syrup thickens and has reduced by about a third.
  3. Remove syrup from the heat. Stir honey into the warm syrup. 
  4. Using a fine mesh sieve, strain syrup into a heat proof container to remove the botanicals, cover and cool to room temperature. Discard the botanicals. Store syrup in the refrigerator until use.

*Syrup will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.

CANDIED CITRUS PEEL

Ingredients

  • Peel from three navel oranges, washed and scrubbed (save the fruit for segmenting)
  • Peel from three grapefruits, washed and scrubbed (save the fruit for segmenting)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cup water (more for blanching the peels)
  • Pinch of sea salt

Directions

  1. Using a “Y” peeler, remove the rind from the citrus, being careful not to remove too much of the pith (the white fleshy part between the rind and the fruit).
  2. Slice the peels into thin strips approximately 1/8-inch width. 
  3. Add the peels to a small saucepan, cover with cool water and bring to a rapid simmer. Immediately drain the water from the peels and repeat this process one more time (the blanching process helps remove bitterness from the peel).
  4. Run the blanched peels under cold water and set aside.
  5. In a medium sauce pan, add salt, sugar and 2 cups of water. Stir ingredients to combine and bring to a boil over moderate heat. 
  6. Reduce heat to low, add citrus peels, and continue to simmer over low heat for 30-45 minutes, or until peels turn translucent and the syrup has thickened.
  7. Pour the candied peels with their syrup into a heat proof, airtight container, cover and set aside to cool to room temperature.

*The candied peels in syrup will keep up to one week at room temperature or up to three weeks in the refrigerator. If the syrup crystalizes at cooler temperatures, just pour the syrup and peel into a small saucepan with a splash of water and lightly warm over low heat, stirring with a spoon until the mixture liquifies and becomes homogenized again.

CITRUS SEGMENTS

Ingredients

  • 4 navel oranges
  • 4 grapefruits (preferably pink grapefruit)

Directions

  1. Starting with the grapefruit, use a sharp knife to cut off the top and base of the fruit so they sit flat on a cutting board.
  2. Cut off the peel and pith from the outer part of the citrus fruit and discard.
  3. Holding the fruit over a bowl to catch juices, cut at a slight inward angle along both sides of the inner white membrane surrounding each segment, and remove the segments.
  4. Put the grapefruit segments with their juices into and airtight container, cover and keep in the refrigerator until use. 
  5. Repeat this process with the navel oranges.

*Keep the grapefruit and orange segments in different containers so they remain two distinct flavors when plating and serving. The citrus segments will keep up to three days in the refrigerator.

SHAVED FENNEL SALAD

Ingredients

  • 1 fennel bulb with fronds (the feathery tops), washed, damaged parts removed, fronds left intact 
  • ½ of a fresh lemon

Directions

  1. Remove the fennel fronds from the fennel stalks. Lightly wrap the fronds in a damp (not wet) paper towel, then in cling wrap or an airtight container. Keep in the refrigerator until use.
  2. Remove the stalks (the green celery-like parts) and the core of the fennel bulb and discard.
  3. Very thinly slice or shave the fennel bulb with a knife or on the thinnest setting of a mandolin.
  4. In a small bowl, toss the shaved fennel with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until use.

*Fennel fronds will keep up to two days in the refrigerator and the shaved fennel bulb for up to three days.

Without further ado, it’s time to plate!

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Citrus Crudo with Shaved Fennel Salad


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  • Author: Asha

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1/4 cup candied citrus peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup shaved fennel
  • Fennel fronds
  • Orange segments
  • Grapefruit segments
  • Pinot grigio and thyme syrup
  • Maldon salt
  • Fresh thyme leaves and/or fresh flower petals

 


Instructions

Notes

Serves Four

The components of citrus crudo with shaved fennel salad, can be prepared and kept in separate containers in the refrigerator up to two days in advance of serving.

If you’d prefer a simple version of citrus crudo or you’re not a fan of fennel, you can omit the shaved fennel and candied citrus salad, leaving you with half the steps and a darn good crudo.

Because conventional citrus is highly sprayed with pesticides; I recommend using organic citrus in this recipe. We are using the peel of the fruit and want to avoid ingesting chemicals.

Leftover syrup from the candied peels can be used as a simple syrup in drinks like tea, seltzer or cocktails. Both the leftover syrup and the peels can be used in baking recipes like bundt cakes, scones, pound cake, cookies, etc.

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