Post holiday, I was looking for something to do with the excess coconut in the fridge, leftover from a nameless holiday sweet (can’t remember exactly what). Then we were invited to a New Year’s Brunch, and it came to me: ambrosia!
Ambrosia is a dish I remember from living room brunches of my youth. I never liked it. Coconut was not really my thing, and neither was mixing fruits (or plain bananas in general). It wasn’t a dish my family served. It was usually found on the side board of our Southern neighbors.
Cut to 2011: the colors of this dish, the taste, the simplicity of the preparation make it a star of any winter brunch. The citrus really hits the spot. Why save it for Christmas?
Mark Bittman is often my go-to guy when I’m looking for recipes and this was no exception. Some Ambrosia recipes can be a bit fussy or too creamy for my taste. This one is simple, and delicious.
Mark Bittman’s Ambrosia Recipe:
Four oranges, sections cut out**
Two bananas sliced
1 cup of coconut
Mix the oranges and bananas together, and sprinkle the coconut on top (perhaps with a little of the collected orange juice?) a few minutes before serving.
**to cut the sections: first cut off either end of the orange so that it could stand up on a cutting board. Next, cut off the peel, removing as much pith as possible. A curved citrus knife makes this a snap, but a regular knife does fine as well. Then, cut the sections directly out of the orange. It’s a little messy but so worth it. Save that juice!
(recipe from How to Cook Everything, of course)
If you want a more souped up version, you might try Alton Brown’s Ambrosia, complete with mini marshmallows, nuts, maraschino cherries, and heavy cream, here. I’d post a picture of one of the creamy versions, but I swear there isn’t one pretty enough to use!
I like the idea of adding a little kick, like the cream sherry as Scott Peacock uses, here, while still keeping the recipe simple (I’d use pre-shredded coconut instead of roasting my own as he does). Or Grand Marnier would be a yummy addition, as in this simple recipe from Cooking Light.
Southern Living (a go-to source for sure) says “The be-all and end-all of ambrosia is that it is what you want it to be.
Personalizing it with whipped cream, pistachios, marshmallows, dried cranberries, or bright red maraschino cherries doesn’t make it wrong–it makes it yours.” Nonetheless, their recipe, here, keeps it pure.