Fresh, juicy citrus is a bright spot in the midst of winter. Celebrate the bounty with a colorful, inspired dinner party menu, starring cold-weather gems like oranges, grapefruit and other citrus fruits in every course, from creative crostini to a stunning blood orange galette. Our tips and recipes will help you pull it off.
Start the meal with this clever twist on the classic crostini: toasts are topped with a sweet-savory combination of ricotta cheese and tangerine marmalade. The marmalade can be made well in advance, so all that’s left to do is assemble them before guests arrive.
For the main course, scallops make an elegant and deceptively simple dish. Our version is pan-seared and served with sauteed oranges — use a mix of crimson blood and regular navel oranges for a rainbow of colors. On the side, we have two kinds of salads: a refreshing grapefruit, fennel and avocado salad, and a farro salad tossed with English peas and sugar snaps, two favorites of spring. Segments of fresh Meyer lemons add even more fresh flavor.
- 1 to 2 days ahead: Make the dough for the galette. Make crostini and marmalade; refrigerate marmalade and store crostini in an airtight container at room temperature.
- Day of: Bake the galette and cool to room temperature. Make the lemonade. Cook the farro for the farro salad.
- Just before serving: Make the grapefruit salad and the scallop dish. Finish the farro salad.
A rich, medium-bodied white wine is the perfect accompaniment to this menu, balancing the sweet-tart citrus and the richness of the scallops. We like this 2010 Stellenrust Chardonnay from the Williams-Sonoma Wine Shop.
Echo the flavors of the meal with a citrus-themed table that’s just as bright and lively as the dishes you serve. Cover the table with a cheerful tablecloth featuring patterns of ripe lemon and delicate citrus blossoms, and serve salads on printed platters and plates. Round out the setting with wood and natural accents, such as our woven chargers and napkin rings.
Skip flowers to keep the table from looking too busy. Instead, continue with the citrus theme; place oranges, grapefruits and lemons in a big bowl, or arrange a branch of lemons down the center of the table. A touch of classic greenery is the ideal accent.