all hail citrus

sunshine carpaccioAbout this time every year — in the cold grey of January — I partake in a citrus binge. I am insatiable when it comes to citrus. Perhaps it’s mother nature’s way of rewarding us for living through the cold and drear of January — an offering of resplendent citrus of all varieties, gone nearly as soon as it arrives. And so I plow through it all — navels and cara cara and tangelo and pomelo and yuzu and blood orange and grapefruit and calamansi. If it has a rind and releases a fragrance as I rip through it, I’m eating it.

Apart from eating out of hand, we go hog wild with citrus recipes — sweet and savoury — through the winter. Here are a few brightening ones we’ve had on repeat this month.

salmon citrus saladThree Citrus and Crispy-Skin Salmon Salad

Serves two for lunch, with leftovers. 

I have a bit of a reputation for my dense, meal-worthy salads (no sad lettuce leaves and baby carrots in this house!), and this one is no exception. Composed of shaved fennel and radicchio, a trio of oranges (cara cara, tangelo and blood), Kalamata olives and my husband’s divine crispy-skin salmon, it made a totally satiating lunch.

Ingredients

For the salad

  • 1/2 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced (reserve fronds)
  • 1 small radicchio head, shredded
  • 3 medium oranges (your choice), peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 c Kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped
  • handful cilantro, coarsely chopped

For the dressing

  • Juice of one small orange (about 1/4c)
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

For the salmon

  • 1 half-pound salmon fillet, washed and well dried
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice (reserve zest from lime)
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp orange juice (reserve when peeling oranges for salad)
  • olive oil, for frying

Method

Prep the salmon: Combine the Sriracha, lime juice, maple syrup and orange juice to form a glaze. Cover salmon and let rest chilled for at least an hour and up to overnight.

Cook the salmon: In a medium pan over high heat, sear the salmon in oil, about 3 minutes per side until lightly pink in centre. Cover with residual marinade sauce and cover with lid. Steam 3 more minutes to cook sauce.

Prep the dressing: Combine, in this order: juice, vinegar, salt — stir to dissolve salt — then slowly whisk in olive oil. Season with black pepper and reserved lime zest to taste. In separate bowls, dress the fennel and radicchio, each with half of the dressing.

Compose the salad: On a large serving platter, layer the dressed fennel and radicchio, and sliced oranges. Sprinkle with olives, cilantro and reserved fennel fronds. Pull apart the cooked salmon and tuck pieces into the salad. Serve immediately.

sunshine carpaccioSunshine Carpaccio

Serves two for lunch, four as a side.

Full of golden beet, tangelo, pickled pink peppercorn and red onion, mint and sprinkled with pistachio salt and sumac, this is a recipe I dreamed up to deal with a glut of golden beets in our weekly CSA share. We’ve since made it three more times. It’s that good… and a reminder that winter vegetables are so much more than comfort food.

Alternate method: if you don’t want the fuss of thinly-slicing the beets and oranges carpaccio-style, we’ve had equal success simply cubing the beets and segmenting the oranges. 

Ingredients

  • 2 large golden beets, roasted, peeled and thinly sliced (1/8-inch)
  • 2 tangelos, peeled and thinly sliced (1/8-inch)
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped to brunoise
  • 1 tsp pink peppercorns
  • 1/4c red wine vinegar
  • 1/2c shelled pistachios
  • 1 tsp maldon salt
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • handful mint leaves
  • your best olive oil

Method

Make a quick pickle: Combine onions, whole pink peppercorns, red wine vinegar and a heavy pinch of salt. Leave to sit at least 15 minutes.

Make the pistachio salt: Blitz in a food processor the shelled pistachios and salt until powdery.

Compose the salad: On a large plate, layer the beets, tangelo slices and mint leaves. Top with pickled onion (vinegar and all) and sprinkled pistachio salt and sumac. Generously drizzle with olive oil and serve.

blood orange ricotta almond cakeBlood Orange, Almond and Ricotta Cake

Makes one 9-inch round cake, about 1.5 inches thick. 

This riff on a Smitten Kitchen recipe was a dinner party star served with Greg’s Sweet Cream. I followed Deb’s recipe pretty closely, with the following modifications:

  • Used three citrus varieties — cara cara, tangelo and blood orange — for a gradient effect.
  • Peeled the citrus, versus leaving the rind on, to alleviate some bitterness.
  • Increased baking temperature to 350 degrees F (convection) and increased cooking time to a full 50 minutes. This was a very loose batter that (in my oven) required a hotter, longer bake to properly set up.
  • Added 1 tsp almond extract — played subtly and beautifully with the orange.

See what we’re cooking this week!

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