Saturday, 12 January 2013

Sicilian Sunshine Salad!

Insalata di Melograno, Cedro, Menta e Miele
Pomegranate, Cedro Lemon, Mint & Honey Salad

2 very Sicilian fruits are the pomegranate, with which you are most probably familiar, but also the Cedro, which is like a huge, lemon- I am talking around a full pound in weight! Wonderful in their own right, paired with mint, which is also very well-loved in Sicily, and a local honey which has the perfume of orange blossom... you have yourself everything sunny that the island has to offer, all in one go! Ain't that wonderful?

The cedro is unusual inasmuch as that it has very little of the citrus fruit in it's center, but lots and lots of the pulpy white flesh that surrounds it. And precisely THAT is the part of the fruit that you eat! It has a mildly bitter, but refreshing flavor... which may be an acquired taste... but I have acquired it and I love it! Maybe you will too?

Back home in Sicily, we simply take the cedri, peel away the zest thinly, cut them in half, 
scoop out and discard the fruit (which is very bitter and not very juicy) and eat them as they are. But I wanted to have a little fun this evening and do something a little prettier. 

I began by using my zester and pulling a few strands of zest from the peel, which I then blanched with boiling water for 1-2 minutes to get rid of the bitterness and any other nastiness, then drained and set to one side to use as a garnish later. I then peeled away the remaining zest with a vegetable peeler, discarded the fruit and then cut the white eating part into cubes. 

Next, I cut open the pomegranate, into quarters and removed the seeds. This is done quite easily, by bending back the skin so that the segments open up- you can easily remove any of the white membrane this way too. That is absolutely all of the prep work you need to do... not much, is it? :-)

I set the cedro out first, then sprinkled the pomegranate on top, a few mint leaves and then a drizzle of the sweet and aromatic honey. You can't get simpler and you can't really get any better either! Just combine a few flavors, but let nature do all the hard work- that's the way a good fruit salad works! This is just refreshing in the extreme and so pretty at the same time. If you don't like seeds or don't like a mild bitterness, this may not be for you- but that is fine also... I would be more than pleased to finish your portion off!

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