Mixed citrus Caprese salad
A winter citrus variation on Caprese salad
In the heat of summer, when vine-ripened tomatoes are there for the picking, there is nothing better than a Caprese salad made with fresh buffalo mozzarella. But how do you enjoy a Caprese salad in the heart of winter, when tomatoes are hard, lacking flavor and frankly a little sad? The answer is citrus. Acidic citrus replaces acidic tomatoes in this winter variation on a Caprese salad.
Use a variety of citrus to tantalize your tongue
By using a variety of citrus, every bite becomes a surprise and a treat for your tongue. I use ruby grapefruit, Cara Cara oranges, Sumo tangerines and blood oranges. Use the most flavorful citrus you can get your hands on. I slice the citrus into wheels, remove the rind and pith, lay them out on parchment paper and sprinkle them with demerara sugar and a bit of salt and pepper. A quick trip under the broiler brings out their sweetness and chars their edges.
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Have you met Sumo tangerines yet?
If not, you are in for a treat. These incredibly sweet fruits are a cross between oranges and Satsuma tangerines. After 30 years of development, these large, sweet and easy-to-peel citrus became the most popular citrus in Japan and Korea, at one time selling for as much as $8 apiece! Sumo tangerines, named for their sumo-like top knot, are now grown in California and are available nationally from select stores, including Whole Foods, Bristol Farms and Gelson's. Sumos are available February through May and for the record, Sumo tangerines are not genetically modified.
Removing the rind and pith
The trick to removing the rind is to use a really sharp knife. Slice your citrus about 1/3" thick, then lay flat. With a very sharp paring knife cut around the inner edge of the pith. You are left with beautiful citrus disks.
Layer flavors and textures
I layer the various broiled citrus slices with slices of creamy buffalo mozzarella, basil leaves and a bit of fresh mint. I dress it with a white balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing and finish with a drizzle of honey. It almost feels like summer!
- 1 grapefruit
- 1 Cara Cara orange
- 1 blood orange
- 1 Sumo tangerine
- 1 T demerara sugar
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- 1 T white balsamic vinegar
- 3 T olive oil
- 7 ounces of fresh buffalo mozzarella, sliced
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds (optional)
- 1 handful of fresh basil
- 1 handful of fresh mint
- 1 T honey
- Set your oven rack about 4" from the broiler and turn your broiler on to high. Slice your citrus in ⅓" slices. Lay them out flat and with a sharp paring knife remove the outer skin and pith.
- Put a sheet of parchment paper on a baking tray and lay the citrus wheels out on the sheet. Sprinkle with demerara sugar, salt and pepper. Broil until slightly charred on the edges, 5 - 7 minutes. Watch closely, checking every 2 minutes or so. Remove from the oven and let cool a few minutes.
- While the citrus is under the broiler, whisk together the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- On a serving plate, layer slices of citrus with slices of mozzarella and top with more citrus. Tuck in basil and mint leaves between layers and sprinkle over the top of the salad. Scatter pomegranate seeds over the top. Dress with oil and vinegar mixture and drizzle honey over the salad to finish.
THIS SERVES WELL WITH