Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Pomelo: A Lesson in Citrus Suprêmes

This weekend a customer asked me how we prepare the orange segments in our blood orange salad, a mix of salad greens, dried cherries, pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar, and blood orange suprêmes. A suprême is a skinless segment of citrus fruit. I promised the customer that I would post a how-to.

For ease of photography, I bought a pomelo, which you can see in the photo is a lot larger than a blood orange. The pomelo, Citrus maxima, is the largest of citrus fruits and is a native of Southeast Asia, although the one in this photo came from California. It's also spelled pumelo, pumello, and pomello, and in the UK is called a shaddock.

Pomelos range in skin color from green to yellow, in shape from spherical to pear-shaped, and in flesh color from green to yellow to pink. The layer of pith between the skin and the flesh is extremely thick as you will see in the following photos. Pomelos are less sour than grapefruit, but you could easily mistake pomelo flesh for grapefruit flesh when eating it.

1. Slice off the stem end.
2. Flip it over and slice off the bloom end.

3. Stand the fruit on one of the cut ends. Follow the curve of the sides with your knife to remove the bulk of the rind and pith.

4. Finish trimming away the pith. Notice in the photo that this pomelo still needs a bit of trimming.

5. Slice into the fruit alongside a membrane. Cut down to the center of the fruit.

6. Slice into the segment alongside the opposite membrane.

7. Remove the suprême.
8. Remove all the remaining suprêmes in similar fashion.

9. Squeeze the juices from the membranes before you pitch them.

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