How to Supreme Fruit for Beautiful Salads

If you want gorgeous, perfectly peeled citrus for salads and other dishes, you must know how to supreme.

“A Chef’s Life” star Vivian Howard demonstrates how to “supreme” fruit, a trick of the kitchen so crucial she calls it her  “zen technique.”

First, cut the top and bottom off of your fruit, then lay the fruit on the flat edge. Working your way around the piece of fruit, cut off all of the rind around the body from top to bottom.

Choosing the right utensil is really important, says Howard. “You don’t want a big, honking chef knife or a long slicer, you want a knife roughly a little bit larger than the piece of fruit you’re using,” she explains. A small pairing knife with a serrated edge should do.

Then take your knife and cut away from the membrane of the fruit, collecting the fleshy pieces and all of the juice fall into a bowl. 

To test out supreming at home, try Howard’s green salad with orange, avocado and red onion recipe below.

Check your local PBS listings to find out when A Chef’s Life airs in your area.

Makes 4 to 6 servings
3 oranges, preferably juicing oranges 
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons extra ­virgin olive oil
Pinch crushed, dried pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 head butter lettuce, cored, leaves torn into bite­-sized pieces 
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 medium avocados, pitted and cut into thin wedges
2 tablespoons salted pistachios

Cut a thin slice off the top and bottom of the oranges so that they can sit flat on the work surface. Working with one at a time, start at the top and slice downwards following the curve of the fruit. Cut away all of the skin and the pith without taking too much of the fruit. Working over a large bowl to collect the fruit and juice, carefully cut out each section of the flesh by inserting the blade of the knife between the flesh and the membrane on both sides so that the wedge of flesh can fall free. Drain the juice into a small bowl.

Measure 2 tablespoons of the orange juice into a medium bowl. (Reserve the rest for another use.) Whisk in the vinegar, garlic, and mustard. Whisk in the oil. Season with salt, pepper, and pepper flakes.

Toss the lettuce in a large bowl with enough dressing to moisten. Arrange on a serving platter.

Arrange orange segments, onion, and avocado over the lettuce; drizzle with remaining vinaigrette.

Sprinkle with pistachios. Serve immediately.

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