The weather in New York has been so balmy recently and since we're heading into prime citrus season in the Northern Hemisphere, it's no wonder that I recently wanted to create a bright, fresh and colorful salad. Here's a look at my "Pomelo Salad with Avocado, Pomegranate and Smoked Salmon".
Doesn't it look like Spring? Alas, it is nearly December but it's been between 58˚ - 65˚F here for a few days now. I saw the gorgeous pomelo at my greenmarket and once I imagined the tart, slightly grapefruit flavor the wheels of creation started turning in my head. I picked up a few other ingredients, balancing tart with creamy, smoky with sweet. I know many of us are feeling a little plump after last week and this may continue for the next month, so please try this salad when you're needing to lighten things up a little in order to persevere through the holidays!
1 large pomelo, sliced and segmented into the "supremes"
1 ripe avocado, pitted and diced
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 oz. smoked fresh Nova salmon (or arctic char)
2 T. crème fraîche
1 lemon, sliced in half to squeeze the juice of each half at different times
1/4 tsp. fresh chives, minced plus more for garnish
3 tsp. pomegranate seeds plus more for garnish
1 bunch watercress or other delicate greens washed and drained dry
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
I used the pomelo itself for the "bowl" in the photo at top. If you want to do it too, I sliced the pomelo in half, used a very sharp knife to cut around the edge between the pith and the fruit. I flipped the pomelo upside down and sliced off the rounded bottom to make it sit flat and reveal the pith. I sliced enough pith away that I almost exposed the flesh. Then, I pushed on the flesh from the bottom, which will pop the entire circle of flesh out the larger top half if your cuts around were deep and even enough. If this doesn't work you can also use your knife to peel away the skin and pith and then scoop the flesh out with a grapefruit spoon. A grapefruit spoon is one of my favorite kitchen tools, I use it to scrape out not only citrus but squash seeds, bread for making bread bowls and fibrous membranes of vegetables. After popping out the flesh of the pomelo, I segmented the sections into "supremes" by slicing between each segment to cut away the skin and pith. You should only eat the juicy, pearly segments of pomelo, the pith and skin is more bitter than grapefruit. Place the supremes into a medium bowl.
Next, slice the avocado in half lengthwise with a large knife and then twist the halves in opposite directions to separate. Remove the pit by letting your knife drop onto the pit so it sticks and twisting the half-avocado. The pit should remain stuck to your knife leaving you two separate halves. Use a paring knife, gently hold the avocado in the palm of one hand to make cross-hatch patterns in the avocado flesh with your knife. The skin is still on in this technique, it saves you from peeling the avocado, which often makes it dented and mushy. Use a spoon to gently scrape the avocado away from its peel and add it into the bowl with the pomelo. Season with the kosher salt and black pepper and toss together.
Crumble the smoked salmon in a bowl and squeeze 1/2 the lemon over the fish and mix lightly. Add the crème fraîche and toss. Combine the fish mixture with the pomelo-avocado mixture in the first bowl, add the chives and pomegranate seeds and mix very gently.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, the other 1/2 lemon squeezed and pepper to taste. Pour this vinaigrette over your salad greens, toss gently. Place the greens on a salad plate and spoon the pomelo, avocado, fish and pomegranate salad on top or serve in the pomelo skin. Garnish with a couple more pomegranate seeds and chives and serve.
We liked the smoked salmon, but it is a very strong flavor. It would be more delicate and lovely with smoked arctic char since its meat tastes like a cross between salmon and trout, or even creamy prosciutto.