A small, citrusy step away from the treacle.

It’s almost the end of the holidays, and we’re starting to be just a bit sick of sweet. While eating our way through what remains of Michelle’s cookie cavalcade (reduced by gifts, get-togethers and Steve’s occasional late-night rustling), we started to think of slightly less sugary finishes to our meals. We make this dish only occasionally, as it requires wonderful winter citrus and restaurant-level pith removal that is beyond Steve’s skill set to meet Michelle’s standards for fresh fruit consumption. Sweetened with honey and spiked with rosemary, it’s pretty simple to put together (unless you, like Michelle, are relentlessly pithaphobic). And it’s more refreshing, herby, earthy and tart than it is sweet.

At a recent dinner with some longtime friends, it made an excellent counterpoint to an assortment of Michelle’s cookies. After all, while we like many may have some “healthier” resolutions and plans, it’s not quite the new year yet.


(adapted from Judy Rodgers’ The Zuni Cafe Cookbook)

  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 4 tsp. water
  • a dozen or so rosemary leaves
  • 4-6 oranges, preferably of different colors (you can also substitute one or two oranges with a ruby grapefruit)

Place honey and water in a tiny saucepan.  Chop rosemary leaves and add to pan.  Heat over low heat until warmed but not boiling.  Set aside.

Section citrus as described here.  Make segments about the same size.  If using large fruit, such as grapefruit, you will want to divide the segments into smaller pieces.  Place fruit segments, alternating colors, in 4 small bowls. Squeeze juice from remaining pulp into a bowl and pour over the fruit segments.  Can be prepared ahead of time, covered and refrigerated.

Just before serving, drizzle cooled honey and rosemary over fruit segments.



  1. Just LOOKING at the beautiful photo is a relief. Imagining eating it is even better. Steve, do you use the whack-off-the-skin-with-a-big-knife technique, which wastes a little of the precious interior, but opens the fruit perfectly to fairly simple pith-less sectioning? I yielded to this approach a few years ago to make grapefruit salads, and now I’m sold.

    • Rona, that’s pretty much the way I do it (except I use a fairly small knife). Steve could never be trusted with a task such as this. He eats apples cores and all, and can’t imagine why anyone would want to remove pith from citrus!

  2. I need to find some good citrus! This looks delicious and refreshing! And I’m in Michelle’s camp…I hate the pith and won’t eat citrus often because of it!

  3. Just looking at the beautiful photo makes me want to get to the market for some citrus. The rosemary syrup must add such a lovely fragrance and flavor.

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