December 27, 2008

Citrus Salad with Star Anise Syrup

Yum yum yum yum yum.  This is a great way to use seasonal winter fruits.  It's simple, the ingredients list is short, but also complex because of the star anise.  Plus it makes for quite a pretty presentation.  However, I will say that cutting all of the fruit away from the pith is rather time consuming and difficult... but then again I don't think my cutting skills are all that.

So I don't like Sambuca or those black licorice flavored jelly beans but I do enjoy a hint of anise.  I actually think this salad could have used more.  I only made half but used the full amount of star anise plus an extra.  

The way I feel about anise and licorice flavor in general kind of reminds me of the way I feel about fennel.  I unknowingly tried a piece of raw fennel at my friend's Christmas party a few years back and was extremely put off by the flavor, which made me think I hated fennel.  But recently I've realized it's a great spice to add to meat dishes or stews and is one of the delicious spices often used in sausage.  So basically I've concluded that subtlety and pairing is the key.  Some things you don't like as a main ingredient or by themselves can actually be great when used in smaller amounts or combined with something different.  So don't write something off if you don't like it one way because it may be phenomenal another.

P.S.- When I was in China this summer I had edamame that was boiled in water flavored with star anise and it was a delicious and unlikely combination.  I have yet to try it at home though.

Citrus Salad with Star Anise Syrup
From Gourmet

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 5 large ruby red or pink grapefruit
  • 4 blood oranges


Dissolve sugar in water in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring. Add star anise and simmer 5 minutes. Let stand off heat 30 minutes.

Cut peel, including white pith, from fruit with a sharp knife. Cut segments free from membranes into a bowl. Squeeze juice from membranes into bowl.

Add syrup with star anise to fruit and juice and stir gently. Remove star anise before serving if desired.

*Can be made 1 day ahead and chilled.

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