Citrus Salad with Pistachios & Olives inspired by Franny’s

Franny's Citrus Salad

All my friends who live close to me are moving out of the neighborhood, lovely Park Slope, Brooklyn, within a two month window. First it was Lauren, moving upstate, but now Jesse is going back to North Carolina, and Liz is off to her boyfriend’s in Bay Ridge. It’s too bad. I’m going to be so lonely but while they’re still around I’m trying to make the most of it.   I meet up with Liz at Franny’s which is renowned for their pizzas, which New York Magazine called “the borough’s single greatest culinary achievement” and it’s only a couple block away from me.

Franny's Citrus Salad Detail

Seeing Liz and catching up was great but I also had an ulterior motive for going to Franny’s. They had a citrus salad on the menu that I thought would be great for my mother’s big surprise birthday party this weekend. I’d been trying to sort out what I was going to make for the party. My criteria were that it needed to be easy to prepare, elegant, and go well with lobster (for those who have read my Perry Street post, we’re having the seafood company cook the lobsters for us). We were only going to have a two hour window while my mother was out getting a massage to clean, cook, and set up for the 30 person seated dinner party before the guests started arriving.

Franny's Menu

So Liz and I split the citrus salad with hot peppers, pistachios, and olives to start. The flavors were vibrant, refreshing, and unexpected. It was going to be perfect for the party too; only a few ingredients and simple to prepare. Our pizzas were excellent too. We split two pies: tomato, provolone picante, oregano, onions, and olives & ricotta, buffalo mozzarella, garlic, oregano and hot peppers.  Delicious!

Down in Florida, where my parents escape to for the winter, the party was a huge success. My mother was delighted and truly surprised. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures except the one I snapped after I finished the salad. My father, brother, and I were rushing to get everything done so there wasn’t any time for pictures. In addition to the citrus salad we had roast asparagus with sesame and garlic, lobster, caeser salad, and flourless chocolate cake. My mother’s friends were so helpful and brought several of the salads and the dessert. We couldn’t have done it without them.

Citrus salad for Mom's Birthday

For this salad use a mix of citrus fruits but try to sure you have a variety of colors and shapes because that’s what makes this salad so attractive. Blood oranges look wonderful but I couldn’t find any so I substituted with pomelos. The combination of sweet, sour and salty flavors is what makes this salad so flavorful. The ingredients and the vinaigrette can be prepared and sealed in separate containers two days in advance.  Being able to do all prep work in advance made this salad super easy to throw together right before the party.

Citrus Salad with Olives, Pistachios and Hot Peppers (serves 9 -12)

(Active time: 40 minutes but most of that is chopping the ingredients which can be done ahead)

  • 3 clementines, peeled, slices separated
  • 3 naval oranges, peeled, sliced lengthwise, juices reserved
  • 1 red grapefruit, peeled, sliced lengthwise, juices reserved
  • 1 white grapefruit, peeled, sliced lengthwise, juices reserved
  • 2 blood oranges, peeled, sliced lengthwise, juices reserved
  • 1/3 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup mild green olives, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely red onions, chopped
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Arrange the various citrus rounds and slices on a large platter. Sprinkle the pistachios, olives, red onions, and parsley evenly on top of the citrus.

Whisk together 1/4 cup reserved citrus juice, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and salt in a small bowl, then add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified. Drizzle over the salad and serve.

*Citrus Salad with Olives, Pistachios and Hot Peppers goes well with seafood such a lobster or tilapia or a light chicken dish.

-My Citrus Salad with Olives, Pistachios and Hot Peppers recipe was inspired by Franny’s citrus salad with hot peppers, pistachios, and olives appetizer.


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