Recently there was a sale on oranges at the grocery store. To be honest, I'm not a huge orange fan. Sure, I'll eat the little Cutie Clementines around the holidays, or take a sliced orange off a fruit platter to be polite, but I much prefer grapefruits. However, oranges were on sale ($.10 each!), they had blood oranges in stock - which is rare - and I had grapefruits at home. Additionally, I had been itching to try the cardamom infused honey. So needless to say, I bought way too many oranges and basically pranced in the house as I thought about making this.
And, here's the shout out for cardamom - it's pretty much amazing. I can see why wars were fought over spice routes. Aside from spices really making or breaking food, there is just so much variety! Amongst all that variety, there is a palpable taste of beauty in the complexities and simplicities of spices and food alike. Cardamom is no different. Just like a gothic cathedral is a different type of beautiful than a Amazonian waterfall - cardamom is like looking up through the leaves in an oak forest into a blue sky verses colorfully clad dancers in the Rio de Janeiro carnival. Cardamom is subtle, grounded, and very versatile. You would never think that the dancer type beauty of the citrus would go so perfectly complimented by the gentle stability of cardamom. But it does!
The great thing about this beauty of a citrus salad like this is that it is a really nice and pretty pick-me-up during the dreary winter months. As citrus is more of a winter fruit anyway, it can be pretty and relatively in season which is wonderful.
In regards to the flavors - there is of course the main sweet tang of the citrus; light sweetness from the orange, a deeper sweetness from the blood orange, and a burst of ruby tang from the grapefruit. Then there is the gentle cloak of amber honey followed by a soft hint of earthy mellowness from the cardamom. While the cardamom honey is not a powerful flavor in this dish, it gives it a distinct and grown up that separates it from other citrus salads and soccer snacks.
Citrus Salad with Cardamom Honey
1 blood orange
2 regular oranges
2 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoons reserved citrus juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
Mint leaves and lavender for garnish
In a small sauce pan, or in a deep microwaveable glass bowl, mix honey and cardamom. Microwave for 2 minutes, stirring every 20 seconds. Or, heat over medium heat until bubbling, reduce to low and heat while continually stirring for 2 minutes. Remove from heat or microwave, set aside.
Peel and slice or segment the citrus fruits. Mine is shown in round slices (click here for my quick tutorial) or you can segment them (this is a decent link). There will be lots of juice run off - reserve this. Add at least 1 Tablespoon to the honey mixture and stir until incorporated.
Arrange slices on a large, rimmed serving platter. Pour the honey mixture over the slices, top with mint leaves(pictured with basil -the only green stuff I had) and lavender, if desired.
Serve lightly chilled.