Let us not discuss the inadvisable reasons for which I've avoided Yotam Ottolenghi's work the last couple of years as his popularity has exploded.
Suffice it to say that I'm on board now. So much so that I've made this recipe twice in as many weeks, which is significant considering the time and energy investment and my tendency to flit from one recipe to the next, always searching out the next best thing.
You need to know that this recipe is a Commitment. Watercress, mango, and pomelo (or even just grapefruit, which I've used here) aren't the cheapest ingredients for a salad I assure you you'll want to finish in one sitting. Stripping the herbs and watercress, breaking down and thinly slicing ginger and mango and - most of all - segmenting grapefruit, all tear away a pretty chunk of your evening.
But I've come to the conclusion that this salad is absolutely worth it. Without hesitation. Just give yourself a bit of extra time (relax and listen to an incredible podcast while you're working), and I promise you'll be richly rewarded.
from Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty More
5 tablespoons/75 ml rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup/40 g palm (or superfine) sugar
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
2 star anise pods
1 cinnamon stick, broken in two
1 1/4 inch/3 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips
2 red chilis, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 large (or 2 small) pomelo; 2 cups/350 g once peeled and segmented
1 small green or regular mango, peeled and cut into strips (scant 1 cup/140 g)
2/3 cup/10 g cilantro leaves
1/3 cup/10 g mint leaves
4 baby red or regular shallots, thinly sliced (1/3 cup/40 g)
2 cups/60 g watercress leaves
2 teaspoons peanut oil
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 teaspoons black sesame seeds (or white, if unavailable)
1/4 cup/40 g roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- First make the marinade. Place the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan and warm gently, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, add the orange blossom water, star anise, cinnamon, ginger and chiles and set aside.
- Use a sharp knife to peel the pomelo skin. Divide into segments and use the knife to remove and discard the pith and membrane. Break the fruit segments into 1 or 2 inch bite-size chunks, put in a shallow dish, and pour in the marinade. Leave for at least 30 minutes - the longer, the better.
- Remove and discard the star anise and cinnamon. Drain and save the marinade. Place the pomelo, ginger, and chiles in a large bowl and add 3 tablespoons of the reserved marinade along with the mango, cilantro, mint, shallots, watercress, peanut oil, lime juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Gently toss, add more marinade, if needed, and then sprinkle with the sesame seeds and peanuts and serve.