Citrus Carpaccio is a fancy name for a very thinly sliced citrus salad. Decorated with fresh basil and jalapeño, it's a festival of seasonal flavors and a feast for the eyes.
Every citrus variety has its own distinctive flavor, and the colors can vary greatly. While this dish is composed of only citrus, each bite is different from the next, and it's aesthetically beautiful.
Slicing fruit very thinly creates a really lovely texture and a very different eating experience than when you just bite into it.
You can make fruit carpaccio with all sorts of fruits: melons, plums, peaches, kiwi, strawberries, etc.
Choose citruses that are firm to slightly soft with a deep exterior color. They should be heavy for their size.
- grapefruit - I use Ruby grapefruit in this recipe because it's a touch sweeter and less bitter than some of the other varieties, and I love the deep pink color.
- orange - I love Naval oranges for this because they don't have seeds and they're incredibly sweet in the winter.
- blood orange - The color of the skin is not an indication of the interior color. A bright orange exterior might be a very dark red inside, and an exterior that has a lot of red might be mostly all orange inside. Blood orange fruit can range from orange to a deep, dark burgundy. And sometimes they're a gorgeous blend of the colors.
- lemon juice - Use a Meyer lemon if possible. They're are a touch less tart and a bit sweeter. And with a thinner skin and fewer seeds, they are incredibly juicy.
- lime juice - Choose limes with smooth skin -- I find they're often juicier.
- basil - The smaller the leaves the better for this.
- jalapeño pepper - A good pepper should be firm, deeply colored and slightly shiny.
(See recipe card below for quantities.)
- You can make citrus carpaccio with any citrus you like. The contrast in colors is fun, but if you prefer one over another, use it. It's beautiful with one or two colors also. (Keep in mind Naval oranges are typically free of seeds.)
- The lemon and lime are drizzled on top, but both (especially Meyer lemons), can also be sliced and used as one of the main ingredients. (They're used this way in Lemon Poblano Guacamole.)
- Cilantro, dill and chives would all be great substitutes for the basil. None are crucial to the dish, but the touch of green is sort of the "icing on the cake."
- The sharper your knife, the easier it will be to get super thin, beautiful slices of fruit. (Pro Tip: A sharp knife is much safer than a dull knife.)
- The grapefruit will be much easier to slice if you cut it in half after removing the skin. Cut it in half vertically. (See images below.)
- Save all of your scraps for a later use, like to make salad dressing. You'll be amazed at how much juice you can get out of them.
- The contrast of the sweet citrus with the spicy jalapeño is incredibly tasty, but if you're not someone who likes extra heat, remove the seeds or skip them all together.
- The thinner the slices, the more dramatic the presentation will be -- however, whatever the thickness is, it'll still be pretty and delicious.
- If you want a little more sweetness, lightly drizzle the citrus with honey once it's plated.
- Rather than making 4 separate plates, fruit carpaccio is also lovely arranged on a large platter for the whole table to share.
How to Make it
- Use a paring knife to cut about ½-inch off the tops and bottoms of each of each of the citrus varieties.
- Remove the skin by setting the fruit down on one of the flat surfaces and use the knife, moving downwards into the fruit and cutting only slightly into the flesh.
- Cut only the grapefruit in half, vertically, while leaving both oranges whole. Then cut all three into very thin slices.
- Arrange the fruit on 4 small plates or a serving platter, and then drizzle lightly with lemon and lime. Place a few jalapeño rings on top and a few basil leaves between some of the citrus slices.
(More detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.)
More Citrus Appetizers to Tempt You
- Honey-Rosemary Marinated Oranges
- Citrus Caprese Kebabs with Mint
- Pickled Ginger Citrus Salad with Wasabi Dressing
Making it Ahead
- You can make citrus carpaccio this up to an hour ahead without it becoming too juicy. If you make it any sooner and there's a lot of juice in the plate, just pour it off into a glass or bowl.
- Don't drizzle the lemon and lime until you're ready to serve.
Commonly served as an appetizer, Carpaccio is actually an Italian meat dish, served raw. The protein is very thinly sliced or pounded. It's traditionally served with olive oil, lemon juice, capers and onions.
I hope I've inspired you to make this citrus carpaccio this winter. Enoy!
Citrus Carpaccio Recipe
- 1 Ruby Grapefruit (on the smaller side)
- 1 Naval orange
- 1 Blood orange
- a few basil leaves washed and dried
- about ½ of a small jalapeño, very thinly sliced in rings
- drizzle of lemon juice
- drizzle of lime juice
- Cut the citrus. To prepare the fruit, use a paring knife to cut about ½-inch off the tops and bottoms of each of each of the citrus varieties. Remove the skin by setting the fruit down on one of the flat surfaces and use the knife, moving downwards into the fruit and cutting only slightly into the flesh. (Here is a photographic guide of how to do this.)Cut the grapefruit in half vertically. Then cut all three into very thin round slices. (Save any scraps for juicing for other uses.)1 Ruby Grapefruit, 1 Blood orange, 1 Naval orange
- Assemble. Arrange the fruit on 4 plates or a serving platter, and then drizzle lightly with lemon and lime. Place a few jalapeño rings on top and a few basil leaves between some of the citrus slices.a few basil leaves, drizzle of lemon juice, drizzle of lime juice, about ½ of a small jalapeño,
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