Holiday Feast Recipe: Citrus salad from Porzia’s Basilio Pesce

Holiday Feast Recipe: Citrus salad from Porzia’s Basilio Pesce

The chef who made Biff’s a power destination is opening Porzia, a more relaxed Parkdale room where he cooks the Italian food of his family matriarchs. Pesce’s mother, for whom the restaurant is named, used to serve this tart citrus salad between heavy courses at family dinners, including the Catholic Christmas Eve feast of seven fishes. He added hot chilies to complete the trifecta of sweet, sour and spicy.

Basilio Pesce’s Citrus Salad

Serves 12


  • ¼ red onion, finely diced
  • 6 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 4 tsp kosher salt
  • 24 green olives, smashed and pitted
  • 2 tsp to 2 tbsp chili peppers in oil, drained and roughly chopped
  • 2 blood oranges
  • 2 navel oranges
  • 4 clementines
  • 2 ruby red grapefruits
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (optional)
  • Cracked black pepper
  • ½ cup lightly packed flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ cup lightly packed mint


1. Place red onion in a bowl, stir in vinegar, sugar and salt, and cover. Allow flavours to infuse at room temperature for 3 hours. Drain. Stir in olives and chopped chilies. Adjust amount of chilies to your liking. Set aside and let infuse for 1 hour more.

2. Just before serving, segment the clementines. Slice a thin piece from top and bottom of grapefruits, oranges and lemon. Cut off remaining peel. Cut segments from membrane. Arrange fruit over a platter. Spoon olive mixture overtop and drizzle with olive oil. Crack pepper overtop. Garnish with parsley and torn mint. Serve immediately.

Masellis, an Italian deli on the Danforth, carries fiery, floral Donato Macina preserved chili peppers, which are perfect for this dish. 906 Danforth Ave., 416-465-7901.