Winter wonders: Pomelos, pomegranates and pears



Curried Chicken Salad With Comice Pear and Pomegranate Seeds

Chunks of creamy comice pear contrast nicely with the crunch of cashews and pomegranate seeds. The salad can be composed a day or two in advance; for best flavor, add the nuts and pomegranate seeds just before serving.

1 cup low-fat mayonnaise

4 teaspoons curry powder

Freshly squeezed juice from 1 or 2 lemons (2 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons homemade or store-bought chutney

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

4 cups (about 2 pounds) cooked, skinless white-meat chicken, cut into bite-size chunks

One 8-ounce comice pear, cored, then cut into 1/2-inch chunks

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup roasted cashews

3 tablespoons pomegranate arils (seeds)

Mix mayonnaise with curry powder, lemon juice, chutney and cilantro leaves in a medium bowl.

Combine the chicken and pear in a serving bowl. Add the mayonnaise mixture and toss to coat evenly. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with the cashews and pomegranate seeds. Makes 8 servings.

Source: Elinor Klivans.

Per serving (using unsalted cashews): 310 calories, 28 g protein, 14 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 75 mg cholesterol, 360 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber, 7 g sugar.


Pomelo, Escarole and Candied Bacon Salad with Meyer Lemon Dressing

Here, sweet pomelo and brown-sugar-glazed bacon balance the slight bitterness of the escarole. The juice of Meyer lemons is less tart than that of regular lemons, but the latter can be substituted. This salad looks nice arranged on individual plates, with 2 strips of bacon laid over the top of each portion.

2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

12 slices bacon, preferably applewood-smoked

1 large clove garlic, finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard

Freshly squeezed juice from 1 or 2 Meyer lemons (1/4 cup)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly ground pepper

1 head (1 pound) escarole, cleaned and torn into bite-size pieces

1/2 medium sweet red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 (about 2 pounds) pomelo, peeled (removing pith), then cut into bite-size pieces

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a rack in a roasting pan that’s large enough to hold all of the bacon.

Spread the brown sugar evenly over a large piece of wax paper. Press the bacon slices on half of the sugar so the sugar sticks. Arrange the coated bacon in a single layer, sugar side up, on the rack. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven, turn the slices over and sprinkle them with the remaining brown sugar. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the bacon is crisp.

Transfer the bacon to a plate. Use paper towels to dab away some of the fat on both sides; do not drain the slices on layers of paper towels or the bacon will stick to them.

Use the back of a spoon to mash the garlic and salt together in a medium bowl. Whisk in the mustard, then the lemon juice and oil to form an emulsified dressing. Season with pepper to taste.

Toss together the escarole, red bell pepper and dressing in a large bowl. Divide among individual plates, and scatter pomelo pieces over each portion. Top each serving with 2 slices of the candied bacon. Serve right away. Makes 6 servings.

Source: Elinor Klivans.

Per serving: 410 calories, 8 g protein, 43 g carbohydrates, 25 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 20 mg cholesterol, 500 mg sodium, 4 g dietary fiber, 24 g sugar.


Cara Cara Orange Smoothies

Just about any fruit can be added or substituted: banana, strawberries or peeled mandarin oranges, tangerines or navel oranges.

2 cara cara oranges, peeled, seeded if necessary, then cut into chunks

6 ounces whole or low-fat vanilla yogurt

1/2 cup milk (almond or dairy)

2 teaspoons light brown sugar

1/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups ice cubes

Combine the oranges, yogurt, almond milk, brown sugar, coconut and vanilla extract in a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. Add the ice cubes, then puree to create a smooth, thick consistency. Divide among individual glasses; serve right away. Makes 4 servings.

Source: Elinor Klivans.

Per serving (using low-fat yogurt): 110 calories, 3 g protein, 20 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 45 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 17 g sugar.


Blood Orange Tart

Blood oranges decorate the top of this gorgeous winter tart. The crust is an unfussy butter-cookie dough. The filling can be made and refrigerated a day in advance. The tart crust can be baked a day in advance and stored at room temperature. Assemble the tart just before serving.

For the filling:

1 1/2 cups whole milk

2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the crust:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 large egg yolk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For assembly:

4 blood oranges

To make filling, heat the milk in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan until it is hot and a few bubbles form around the edge. Do not boil it.

Whisk together the eggs and yolk, granulated sugar and flour in a medium bowl until smooth. Slowly whisk the hot milk into the egg mixture, being careful not to let the eggs solidify. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens to form a smooth pastry cream. Reduce the heat to low; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Working in batches, strain the cream through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium bowl, using a flexible spatula to push the mixture through. Stir in the vanilla extract. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pastry cream. Poke a few holes in it and refrigerate for about 2 hours or until the pastry cream is well chilled.

Meanwhile, make the crust: Sift both flours and the salt onto a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper.

Combine the butter and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer; beat on medium speed until smooth. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Reduce to low speed; add the egg yolk and vanilla extract, beating until incorporated. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl. On low speed, add the flour mixture in two or three additions, beating to form a soft dough.

Shape the dough into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until the dough is firm enough to roll out.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Use a little butter to grease the bottom (inside) of a 9-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom. Place the pan on a baking sheet.

Place the dough between two pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap. Roll it into a 14-inch circle about 1/4-inch thick. Remove the top piece of wax paper or plastic wrap; invert the dough, then position it in the tart pan, pressing it in. Remove the remaining piece of paper or wrap. Fold in any overhanging dough, pressing it in to form sturdy tart walls. Use your fingers to even the top of the crust.

Line the tart crust with aluminum foil or a round of parchment paper, then fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and pie weights or beans.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake the tart shell for 10 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned. Cool completely.

To assemble, spread the filling in the cooled crust. Lay a few layers of paper towels on the counter.

Use a sharp knife to cut off the tops and bottoms of the oranges, discarding them. Cut the fruit horizontally into 3/8-inch-thick slices. Trim the peel and all white pith from the slices; discard any seeds you find in the slices. Spread the orange slices on the paper towel and pat them gently to blot off any excess liquid. Arrange the orange slices over the filling.

Carefully dislodge the tart shell from the tart pan sides. Transfer to a serving plate, using a sharp knife to dislodge the tart from the bottom of the tart pan, if desired. Use a sharp knife to cut the tart into slices, and serve. Makes 12 servings.

Source: Elinor Klivans.

Per serving: 260 calories, 5 g protein, 33 g carbohydrates, 12 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 100 mg cholesterol, 75 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber, 19 g sugar.

Washington Post Service

It wasn’t that long ago that the winter produce department was a boring place for fruit lovers with little to offer beyond bananas and garden-variety citrus.

Happily, things have changed. It is now common to find intensely colored blood oranges, buttery comice pears, sweet pomelos, easy-to-peel mandarin oranges, ready-to-eat pomegranate seeds and mild Meyer lemons.

With the exception of pomelos, prepping those fruits is quick and easy. Pomelos, which look like giant grapefruits, aren’t ripe until their light-green skin turns yellow. The skin and pith combined are about an inch thick and must be removed. Cut the fruit in half or in quarters and pull off the peel with its white pith, then cut the fruit into chunks or slices, removing any tough membrane as you go. Pomelos can be sectioned like grapefruit, but much of their sweet juice and coral-pink flesh will be lost.

It’s not difficult to work these fruits into just about any meal of the day, as the accompanying recipes show.

Elinor Klivans is the author of nearly a dozen cookbooks including Slice & Bake Cookies, which is due in April from Chronicle Books.

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