What to Eat Now: Citrus ~ here are the best citrus recipes on tvfgi to help you make the most of these juicy gems of mid-winter, whether you have access to farmers market blood oranges and pomelos, or just a couple of good lemons or clementines from the produce section. I’ll show you how to use every part of this gorgeous fruit, from the juice and pulp to the zest ~ some of my recipes use the whole darned thing, peel and all!
What does January mean to you? Eating healthier? Getting organized? Piles of snow? For me January is all about the seasonal fruit that inspires me like no other ingredient here at tvfgi ~ citrus! And every year I’m so awed by the arrival of these sunny, juicy fruits in the midst of such a dreary month…
Lemon ~ if I had to crown one flavor queen here on the blog, it might have to be lemon. I employ it equally in savory and sweet dishes—and I think there’s hardly anything that doesn’t benefit from a squeeze of fresh lemon. I make a fabulous lemon sugar for my SCOTTISH LEMON SUGAR SHORTBREAD which I love so much I used it again in my LEMON SUGAR CRUMB CAKE. If you eat lots of fish like we do in our house, you already know that lemon is key ~ try my CREAMY LEMON DILL SALMON or COD WITH LEMON AND OLIVES. Psssst: these LEMON CRUNCH BARS are epic.
Slightly sweeter, and often described as having a floral flavor, thin skinned Meyer lemons are a cross between ordinary lemons and either mandarins or common oranges ~ no one is quite sure. They have a short season so grab them while you can, you’ll often see them sold in bags or plastic containers right next to the regular lemons. I always eagerly await their arrival each year–after all, what other ingredient pairs equally well with CHICKEN and with CHOCOLATE?? Thinly sliced Meyer lemons also jazz up my MEYER LEMON FOCCACIA BREAD.
Blood oranges are probably the most dramatic of the citrus fruits, if for no other reason than that luscious blush color. They lend a sweet berry-citrus flavor to all sorts of dishes, and star in everything from this super healthy BLOOD ORANGE AND JICAMA SALAD, to these BLOOD ORANGE CRUMBLE BARS. I’ve also made an incredible BLOOD ORANGE ICE CREAM, and a pretty BLOOD ORANGE VINEGAR, which makes the most insane salad dressings. The easiest way to enjoy blood oranges is to cut away the rind with a small serrated knife, and slice it up.
This stunning pie is made with pink grapefruit, which gives it a tangy bite and a gorgeous sunset hue. I’ve always felt that grapefruit gets short shrift in recipes, and I’m committed to evening the score. You can bring some drama to your breakfast with my GRAPEFRUIT BRULEE, use the juice and zest to flavor a GRAPEFRUIT POPPY SEED CAKE, or the segments in my PINK GRAPEFRUIT AND WATERCRESS SALAD.
White grapefruits have a slightly more bitter, sophisticated flavor profile than their pink cousins. This elegant pot de creme uses both grapefruit juice and blossoms for a completely unique dessert. I also love to make WHITE GRAPEFRUIT VINEGAR to really wake up a salad.
Pomelos are the largest of the citrus fruits with a thick peel and pale flesh similar to in flavor to grapefruit. They’re one of the 4 original citrus fruits, from which all the others have descended, and quite exotic, if you can get through all that peel! I use the juice to make simple sugar free CITRUS POPSICLES.
Sweet and bright, who could not love tangerines? They’re so easy to peel, and the flavor is utterly distinctive. One of my favorite recipes ever is this flourless tangerine cake–it’s simple, elegant, and uses whole tangerines, skin and all! Tangerines also make for an excellent POUND CAKE, paired with poppy seeds, and I pair up the two again in my TANGERINE POPPY SEED PANCAKES. For dinner a delicious way to use this fruit is in my SPICY TANGERINE CHICKEN, guaranteed as good or better than the best restaurant version you’ve ever tasted.
Lime is another under-used citrus fruit, and I’ve taken on the challenge of developing lime recipes that really showcase its zesty flavor. Try this Lime Chiffon Ice Cream for a special, lime-centric dessert that is simple and unusual. And for the classic key-lime-pie-lover, there are always my TANGY LIME BARS.
Oranges remain a culinary hero in my book. They’re versatile, and there are so many different varieties (Cara Cara, Navel, Satsuma, Mandarin…) This spicy citrus salad can be customized to whatever you’re able to find at your grocery store. For another exotic way to include oranges on your menu, try this ROASTED CHICKEN WITH CITRUS AND ALLSPICE.
Clementines are a cross between a mandarin orange and the common sweet orange. They’re the ones that come in the net bags or the little crates, and it’s a good thing, because you’ll want to make lots of this unusual jam. It harnesses the sweet flavor of the fruit with none of the bitterness of a marmalade. I’ve made a similar BLOOD ORANGE JAM, and also a PINK GRAPEFRUIT AND VANILLA BEAN version. I’m even working on a lemon version! Another way to use these ‘cuties’ is in this ROASTED CHICKEN WITH CLEMENTINES.
If you can’t decide which citrus fruit to use, try mixing them up! I like to experiment with my own unique juice blends when I make my easy MICROWAVE CITRUS CURD ~ there’s no limit to the combinations you can come up with. I stack different varieties of citrus fruit in this SICILIAN CITRUS SALAD, too.
Still crave more? I’ve got over 100 citrus recipes on the blog, check them out!
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