Why It Works
- Bright, sweet, and tart citrus complements the intense savory punch of XO sauce.
- To minimize waste and maximize flavor, all parts of the fresh herbs in this recipe get used—the white parts of the scallions and the cilantro stems go into the dressing, while the green parts of the scallions and the cilantro leaves are used for garnish.
- This salad is proof that keeping your fridge stocked with flavor-bomb condiments like XO sauce makes it easy to put together quick but exciting dishes.
So, you've taken the plunge and made a batch of XO sauce. You've eaten it straight from the jar, and you've put it on rice and noodles. But now you want to switch things up and expand your XO-pairing horizons, without creating a lot more work for yourself in the kitchen. After all, you've already done the hard part: making the XO. Now it's time to kick back and live the luxury-condiment high life.
Enter this end-of-season citrus salad. As winter winds down and spring produce starts to appear in markets, we're quick to move on to the next green thing, often overlooking the abundance of amazing citrus that's still in season. Don't do that! Nothing goes better with the arrival of warmer weather than a bright, juicy citrus salad. Here, I pair an assortment of sweet and tart citrus (everything is fair game—oranges, tangelos, grapefruit, pomelos, tangerines, clementines, mandarins, you name it) with the deep, savory seafood notes of XO.
Pops of spicy, meaty XO are balanced by juicy bites of fruit and a simple Meyer lemon dressing spiked with minced scallion whites, cilantro stems, and fresh Thai chili. A scattering of fresh herbs and roasted peanuts rounds out the salad, for a killer dish that comes together in less than 15 minutes. (The peanuts, as well as the sesame oil, can be omitted if anyone at the table is allergic.)
- 2 pounds (900g) mixed citrus fruit (such as oranges, grapefruit, pomelos, tangelos, clementines, mandarins, and tangerines), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, juices reserved separately (see note)
- 2 scallions (40g), white and green parts divided, white parts minced, green parts thinly sliced on a bias
- 12 sprigs (12g) fresh cilantro, leaves and tender stems divided, stems minced
- 1 small green or red Thai chili, stemmed and minced (see note)
- 1 teaspoon finely grated zest from 1 Meyer lemon (see note), plus 1 tablespoon (15ml) juice
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) honey
- 3 tablespoons (45ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) toasted sesame oil (optional)
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup (75g) XO sauce
- 3 tablespoons (45g) roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
In a small bowl, combine reserved citrus juice, white scallion parts, cilantro stems, chili, lemon zest and juice, and honey. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in olive oil, followed by sesame oil (if using). Season to taste with salt.
Shingle citrus rounds on a large serving platter, pausing to spoon dressing over each layer of citrus before shingling more on top. Using a spoon, evenly drizzle remaining dressing over the citrus, followed by small spoonfuls of XO sauce, making sure to use some of the aromatic oil from the XO. Season citrus lightly with salt.
Sprinkle with peanuts (if using), followed by green scallion parts and cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.
Save any juice that ends up on your cutting board while slicing the citrus rounds, and be sure to squeeze out juice from any scrap end pieces of the fruit. It'll be delicious in the salad's dressing.
Thai chilis are very spicy, but adjustments can be made to modify the heat of the dressing as needed. For a milder dish, you can either use less chili or use a milder chili altogether, such as a stemmed and seeded jalapeño. Of course, you can also omit the chili entirely.
If you can't find Meyer lemons, substitute with a regular lemon.
Make-Ahead and Storage
This dish comes together in a flash and is best enjoyed immediately.