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Citrus: Brightness When We Need It Most

Organic Blood Oranges in the Produce Department

When customers ask which apple I’d recommend right now, I respond that in place of apples, its citrus I’m choosing for myself and recommending to others. While other fruit varieties are limited (in quantity or quality) or are simply not available in the winter, citrus really shines.

At the moment we have a dazzling array of citrus fruits in the produce department – from snappy pop in your mouth kumquats to the thick-skinned Seville oranges perfect for marmalade and just about everything in between. This includes (virtually) seedless and easy to peel varieties like the Murcott mandarin and the eagerly anticipated Ojai pixie tangerine, raspberry-infused blood oranges, ancient (pomelo) and modern (Rio star) grapefruits, and the light and refreshing Minneola tangelo.

Beyond the driving citrus or lemony flavor, pine is the second most common flavor note in citrus fruits. In some, such as the Fairchild tangerine (one of many varieties that passed through our department this winter), the scent and flavor of pine is pronounced. In others, such as the blood orange, it is more subtle. Perhaps it is the suggestion of pine that has me pairing citrus with fragrant sprigs of rosemary. On the sweet side, I have been enjoying rosemary scones with tangy grapefruit curd. On the savory side, I have been making a salad that combines a few citrus varieties with peppery arugula, rosemary, and Moroccan olives.

In a small frying pan, heat enough olive oil to cover the base of the pan. Place two sprigs of rosemary in the hot oil and remove when bright green and slightly crispy. Set aside. In the same oil cook a handful of Moroccan olives also until slightly crispy and set aside. Once cool, chop both the rosemary (finely) and olives (coarsely). Remove the skin from a Cara Cara navel orange, two blood oranges, and one Meyer lemon and slice each ¼ inch thick. Place several handfuls of baby arugula on a platter, arrange the citrus slices, scatter sliced shallot along with the chopped rosemary and olives. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of sea salt and coarsely ground pepper.

Below, Organic Fairchild tangerines.