Citrus fruits are at the peak of their flavours during the winter season. I always look forward to this season’s offering of clementine and blood oranges. In fact, it is the only time I would eat an whole peeled orange. For those with the luxury of owning a citrus fruit tree in the garden, you would also know that a great way to spend your cold weekend indoors, is to prepare and stock up orange (or mix citrus) marmalade for gifts or Sunday brunches.
The humble orange is in fact a highly versatile ingredient that could be used in a wide variety of dishes: from salads, soups to deserts, the accessible and economical fruit lends your dish a sophisticated sweet and tangy note, a flavour guaranteed for oranges picked during winter. Also, preparing the fruit is hardly intimidating for culinary novice. For a little experiment, combine oranges with contrasting flavours to tease the sweetness out the these fruits; olives, rosemary, ginger, cinnamon, pepper, and fennel are commonly used with the citrus fruits. In this winter month of January, ViTRINE highlights 3 favourite recipes using the humble citrus, whose ripe peel gave name to a colour.
Orange Marmalade: Thick cut or thin cut, orange marmalade is my favourite home made jam that I serve (myself and my guests) on a toasted rustic whole grain bread with a guilty slab of rich creamy butter. To add depth to your marmalade, try using natural flavour enhancers such as black pepper flakes, ginger, or rosemary. A 50-50 mix of lemon or clementine with orange lends an exquisite citrus tang to your jam.
Too much marmalade at home? Try Melissa Clark’s orange marmalade glazed loaf cake. I have alterated her recipe by spreading the marmalade in between two layers of pound cake before glazing it with more marmalade. It may seem excessive, but trust me, it is all worth it!
For readers who prefer a savoury dish with oranges, serving oranges as a salad is a god-send. The traditional orange salad often calls for mixing slices or wedges of the fruits with fennel wedges, dressed in a high quality extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mark Bittman recommended the sicilian way replacing fennel with olive paté. For a quick lunch, I like mine served with thinly sliced blood oranges, drizzled with extra-virgin oil with salt and pepper to taste.
Oranges may not be the only fruit, but it is certainly an opportune time to savour this versatile citrus in as many ways before the warmer months strips the citrus off its sweet, zesty, and tangy flavour.