Citrus Salad with Mint Gremolata

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By Nancy Buchanan



by Nancy Buchanan on December 12, 2011

“Mom… Dad, is it time yet?”

For the past 14 years or so, that is the first thing that has greeted me on Christmas morning.

In our house, we have a rule – no going downstairs until 7am on Christmas morning (unless of course you are me or my husband since we seem to always be up during wee hours of Christmas morning   – because really, who knew that it takes at least 4 hours to set up a basketball hoop in the dark at 1am?? )Evidently not me. So, the 7am rule worked well  when my children were little – we managed to grab a some sleep before the “big” day and… most importantly we didn’t miss the magical look on our children’s faces when they saw what Santa had brought on Christmas morning.

As my kid’s have gotten older times have changed a bit – the 7am rule  however is still in force…. but at least they don’t ask if it’ “time” yet!!!

One thing that hasn’t changed though is Christmas breakfast/brunch. The recipes of course change, but the game plan? Not a chance.

Now, some people manage to pull off being right in the middle of the Christmas morning mayhem while whipping up large batches of freshly cooked waffles, pancakes, omelets and the like. I however, am not one of them. Maybe because I am  sleep deprived, but on Christmas morning, I just don’t seem able to manage it and to be honest, I don’t want to. Heresy, I know. But there you have it.

I want great food, but food I don’t have to fuss over  since there are other, far more important things to do! Because we  generally have a stream of family and friends stopping by  “breakfast” has evolved to more of an all day brunch affair… and so I have to have things that I can make ahead and either just re heat or assemble! Fortunately, I’ve found some great recipes that I will be sharing with you over the next week or so – and to get the ball rolling I am starting with… fruit!

When Melissa’s Produce sent me some beautiful Cocktail Grapefruit and Jeju Mandarins I knew exactly what I was going to do with them – make a fruit salad that is perfect for breakfast/brunch. If you haven’t tried either  of these citrus fruits you are in for a treat! The Cocktail grapefruit are delicious – they aren’t too tart and are incredibly juicy!!! The Jeju mandarins are a new type of Mandarin that is grown on the Jeju Island which is just south of the Korean peninsula. They are similar to a Satsuma tangerine – very easy to peel, seedless and very sweet… and lasted about 3 days in my house because no one could keep their hands off them!!

Both of these fruits are terrific by themselves – but they work beautifully in this salad, providing a fresh, tart and sweet start to the day!

Citrus Salad with Mint Gremolata

Prep Time: 30 minutes

30 minutes

Yield: 4 - 6 servings

The grapefruit and tangerines can be peeled and sectioned the day before. Refrigerate them separately. The mint mixture can also me made the day before and refrigerated. You may wonder why the mint leaves are blanched. The blanching allows the mint to retain its color - you can certainly skip this step -especially if you are making the gremolata right before serving it. I found I preferred the salad without the simple syrup but you could easily offer it on the side if you wish.


  • 4 Cocktail Grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
  • 8 Jeju Mandarin oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. grapefruit zest, plus additional for ganish
  • simple syrup (optional)


  1. Zest one of the grapefruits over a small bowl. Cover and set aside.
  2. Peel and section the grapefruits and mandarins. Set aside.
  3. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil and fill a small bowl with ice and water. Blanch the mint leaves for about 10 seconds in the boiling water. Remove immediately to the ice water. Remove mint leaves to 2 layers of paper towel to drain. Pat the leaves until they are very dry - they will be limp!
  4. Mince the mint leaves and place in a small bowl. Add the sugar and the 1 Tbsp. grapefruit zest.
  5. In a platter or individual plates, divide the grapefruit and mandarin sections. Top with the pomegranate seeds and a teaspoon of the mint mixture. Garnish with additional grapefruit zest and a little simple syrup if desired.
 Citrus Salad with Mint Gremolata



{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Barbara | Creative Culinary December 13, 2011 at 9:26 am

Love the ingredients and your photo of them is gorgeous. Now I guess I have to get those pomegranates out huh? I love them but do not love the effort of getting to them. Now inspired!


Nancy December 17, 2011 at 11:51 am

Glad you like the photo – was a little tricky getting the exposure right – (light enough for the arils without blowing out the citrus!). Have a confession though – bought the arils already packaged – definitely saves time!


Kim December 14, 2011 at 9:06 am

Simple ingredients are the best; thank you for that reminder! :) If I get around to supreming my tangerines, a version of this might make it on the table this Christmas!



Nancy December 17, 2011 at 11:47 am

With your great citrus, this salad would seriously rock – it is so easy and so refreshing!


HeatherChristo December 14, 2011 at 9:53 am

very pretty! I just chuckled over the late night toy factory. It is always me with a screwdriver and something like a doll house or pink kitchen while my husband has passed out snoring on the couch, after he “gives me a turn”! oooohh, Christmas :)


Nancy December 17, 2011 at 11:46 am

I think there should be a “reality show” on this topic – seriously I think the stories everyone has are just too funny!!!


Georgia Pellegrini December 14, 2011 at 9:54 am

This looks incredible! So refreshing amidst all of these holiday meals.


Nancy December 17, 2011 at 11:45 am

Thanks Georgia! It is definitely a welcome change!!


Lucy Lean December 14, 2011 at 10:21 am

Every year I ask WHY?! as I’m up until 2am wrapping, making and setting up – but I guess this would make me less cranky on Christmas morning – delicious and exactly what’s needed before all that rich food…


Nancy December 17, 2011 at 11:45 am

LOL!! You and me both Lucy – I have to laugh at myself though – it’s not like the day is a surprise or anything… you would think I would have learned by now, but evidently not!


Esi December 14, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Beautiful, refreshing salad!


Magic of Spice December 14, 2011 at 12:47 pm

What a lovely salad…love the colors!


Nancy December 17, 2011 at 11:44 am

Thanks Alisha! This salad reminds me of the gorgeous ones that are on your blog!


Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence December 14, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Looks delicious! I’ll have to admit that I usually get aggravated when I supreme citrus. Perhaps I just need some more practice ;)


Nancy December 17, 2011 at 11:43 am

It is definitely a little time consuming but you are right – more practice helps! For one job I had to supreme about 25 lbs. of citrus – and I definitely was better/faster at it when I finished!


Brooke @ Food Woolf December 14, 2011 at 6:56 pm

This is such a great recipe. it’s the kind of thing you can whip out any time you need something tasty and easy!


Nancy December 17, 2011 at 11:41 am

Absolutely Brooke!


the urban baker December 14, 2011 at 7:03 pm

I have been eating so poorly the past few days, that this is just what I need, this and only this for 5 days!!!


Nancy December 17, 2011 at 11:41 am

Tis the season!! But if it helps, I know exactly what you mean!! I ate an entire bowl of this … no sense of guilt whatsoever!


Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen December 14, 2011 at 7:13 pm

I have yet to try those mandarins but this sounds like a wonderfully refreshing salad.


Nancy December 17, 2011 at 11:40 am

They are really good Sylvie – they aren’t quite as tart as some and so-o-o good!!


Marla December 16, 2011 at 9:12 pm

This light and refreshing fruit salad balances the heaviness of the season perfectly. Where has this year gone?!


Nancy December 17, 2011 at 11:33 am

Hi Marla!
I have no idea where this year has gone, but if you find it, send it my way!!


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