The fact that citrus season hits its peak in winter feels like taunting. “There’s warmer weather somewhere.”
But of course, we welcome it. Wealthy children in the Victorian era would be given an orange at Christmas – an expensive treat from an exotic land. And all that Vitamin C comes in handy through flu season. It is a pendulum that swings. When chillier weather comes, we put aside the fruit salads and herbal cocktails from summer. We pull out the slow cooker. We eat roasts and soup with crusty bread. And this goes on for a bit...until citrus hits its peak in early winter. Then the pendulum swings again and we start looking for a little tang. It’s probably instinctual - humans craving tang to fight off scurvy.
There’s a delicious go-to that I whip up whenever I need a little zest in cold weather. It’s not dependent upon seasonal summer fruits, like peaches or watermelon. Pineapple is delicious in the winter, and is the base of this recipe – I’m not sure if we categorize it as a salad or salsa. It’s sweet, herbal, spicy, fruity – and has that tang.
- Chopped pineapple
- Chopped radishes
- Chopped cilantro
- Chopped scallions
- Chopped jalapenos (no seeds)
- Lemon juice
- Optional: Pet Pet (available at Ladles & Linens!)
- If no Pet Pet, a dash of sumac
- A squeeze of sweet coconut cream
- Measure all ingredients to taste
- Mix all in a bowl, and keep refrigerated
- *Note: It is normal for the color of this mix to turn magenta overnight. The radish skin, Pet Pet and/or sumac bleeds out like dye.
Ways to enjoy it
- Drop a heaping spoonful onto a bed of arugula, and toss for a delicious salad. To make it a full meal, add pepitas (or pumpkin seeds) for protein.
- When serving tacos, all you need is your meat and a corn tortilla, because adding this mix, (pictured top) will perfect the dish - no other ingredients needed!
- This is a perfect topping for fish, whether grilled or fried.
- Mix with yogurt and top with sunflower seeds or chopped nuts for a healthy snack
- This mix is a great topping for pork chops.
The substitutions are endless
As with any recipe, you can make tweaks, depending on what’s in the fridge. Or how adventurous you’re feeling. Jicama is a great replacement for radishes. A squeeze of sriracha can replace jalapeno in a pinch. And you can switch the cilantro for mint or basil, which will really change the flavor profile.
As we descend into chillier weather, I still plan on indulging in garlic mashed potatoes and roasted root vegetables. But when I crave a little tang, a few fresh ingredients can go a long way. No cooking required.