By Chef Domnica Catelli
We are in the last ¼ of blood orange season. For those of you unfamiliar with this particular fruit, let me introduce you.
I first met this special citrus back when I lived in Italy 20 years ago. Since that time they have become readily available in the U.S. during the winter months. They have a bit of a burgundy wash to the otherwise orange rind and the color inside is a deep red.
Blood oranges can be substituted in any recipe that calls for an orange, although the juice is a bit more tart. I love to use them segmented in salads–epecially kale or spinach salads.
Blood oranges make a fantastic topping for fish, chicken, steak, or pork. We have a special right now at Catelli’s restaurant of seared California coast wild halibut with a blood orange and cilantro salsa. It’s very easy to make and versatile — I also enjoyed the salsa on a grilled chicken breast with couscous for a quick and delicious dinner last night.
To make a blood orange salsa, cut 2-3 oranges into ½-inch chunks, skin removed. Mix with 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, ¼ cup finely chopped shallot or red onion, and ½ to 1 finely minced jalapeno (depending on how spicy you prefer). Stir together and use on grilled fish tacos, chicken, or tri-tip steak. The salsa will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
You can also use the juice of the oranges for interesting and beautifully colored cocktails, mocktails, and spritzers. Again, substitute anywhere you would use orange juice.
The zest and juice of these oranges provides a unique color to some of your favorite desserts or sweets, including muffins, pancakes, and puddings.
Until next time stay fresh and delicious!