Pomegranate, Mango & Orange Salad with Honey, Mint, Lime Dressing

Pomegranate, Mango & Orange Salad with Honey, Mint, Lime Dressing 
Nearly every day right now, I find myself reaching for fruit.  Clementines that just barely fill my palm, with a skin that peels easily off of the fruit providing easy access to the sweet half-moon citrus segments inside.  Persimmons that are just ripe enough to feel a wee bit squishy when pressed lightly with a finger but firm enough to peel with a vegetable peeler, and sweet and succulent inside. Pomegranates under whose leathery skin lie some of the world's most beautiful edible morsels: those shining, ruby-red, jewel-like, sweet and sour seeds.  Oranges that are simply perfect and at the peak of their season with a heaviness to each fruit that gives a hint of the juicy perfection underneath the nubbly, bright orange peel.  I can't seem to get enough.  Maybe I'm detoxing from indulgence. Maybe I need a dessert that's lighter than those I enjoyed during the holidays.  Or maybe...it's just one more way to bring the sunshine indoors.

We're at that point in the year when it can be a bit of a challenge to figure out which fruits and vegetables are best to buy now; and when we find them, how to use them so they really shine.  Of course, you can always eat them one at a time, au natural, no accompaniment required.  Or, you can dress them up so they are ready for a meal or a party.

Removing peel and pith from oranges
I smiled when I noticed that Food52 published an article few days ago calling our attention to the seven fruits you should eat more of this month, covering many of those I mention above and including one I'd never even heard of: finger limes.

I couldn't agree more with their list: for New Year's, I had created a new recipe using 4 out of the 7 - subbing in regular lime for finger lime (which at the time I didn't even know was a thing...limes in Finland tend to be of the standard variety only). For this refreshing salad, slices of orange, chunks of mango, and the luminescent seeds of pomegranate were tossed in a honey, mint and lime dressing to create a light, refreshing, eye and palate pleasing dish that works for any meal of the day, including dessert. After enjoying a plate piled high with savory and salty snacks, the light, crisply fresh sweetness of fruit was exactly the balance needed to get us all in fine form for welcoming in the new year.

This can be made up to a day ahead, and is best served at room temperature or slightly below. In any case, allow at least 30 minutes for the fruit juices to combine with the dressing.  Stir the salad briefly just before serving to thoroughly coat the fruit with the juices one more time.

And whether you call it detox or call it dessert - you'll need no excuse to dig in.

Pomegranate, Mango & Orange Salad with Honey, Mint, Lime Dressing
Pomegranate, Mango & Orange Salad 
with Honey, Mint, Lime Dressing

6 large oranges
1 large, fully ripe mango
1/2 pomegranate
juice of 1/2 lime
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, minced

To prepare the oranges:  cut the top and bottom off of each orange and stand the orange on one end. Using a sharp knife, cut away the peel and the pith of the orange so that you have an exposed edge of orange all around (see second photo, above).  Cut the oranges in half from top to bottom.  Remove the white pith from the center, and cut each orange half into thin half moons. Place the oranges in a medium-sized bowl. Repeat with the remaining oranges.

To prepare the mango:  Peel the skin off of the mango using a vegetable peeler.  Cut a thin slice off of the top and the bottom of the angle.  You should be able to see a firm white part of the mango: this is the seed.  Stand the mango on one end with the plumper sides of the mango on the left and the right. Cut along either side of the white seed, about 1/2" / 1.25cm from the center, to get the most of the mango flesh.  Cut again from the thinner sides to get as much of the flesh as possible.  Cut the large mango pieces into medium-sized chunks and add them to the bowl with the oranges.

To prepare the pomegranate:  Using a sharp knife, make a cut around the center of the pomegranate, just barely piercing the leathery skin.  Using your fingers, break the pomegranate in half.  You will feel a bit of resistance at first, and then the fruit will pop open to reveal the seeds.  You will need the seeds from just one pomegranate half for this recipe.  To remove the seeds easily, hold the pomegranate over the bowl containing the oranges and mango.  Using your fingers, with the seed side facing downward, partially break the pomegranate open, but do not break it apart.  Hold the pomegranate half in your open hand, with the seeds facing your fingers and your fingers spread open slightly.  Using a wooden spoon, rap the top of the pomegranate firmly and consistently all over. The pomegranate seeds will begin to fall out of the shell into the bowl.  Continue to hit the top of the pomegranate until most or all of the seeds have been removed.  You can remove any remaining seeds with your fingers.  Some of the white pith from the pomegranate may have fallen into the bowl of fruit. Remove this and discard as it can be bitter.

To finish: Combine the honey and lime juice in a small microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave for 20 seconds so the honey warms up.  Stir; add the mixture, along with the mint, to the bowl of fruit.  Stir the fruit and dressing mixture really well to combine.  Allow the fruit salad to sit for at least 30 minutes.

Serves 6.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,