3.6.12 Bloody Good
I've been feasting on blood oranges lately, ever since I ordered 20 pounds of gorgeous Taroccos from here. Many consider this small, thin-skinned variety the best because of its beautifully balanced sweetness and copious juice. It is seedless and incredibly high in vitamin C, with a gorgeous burgundy interior that develops its color when temperatures drop at night. That's why winter is the time for this fruit, so take advantage now. It's among the season's finest treats. Wondering what our little family of two was doing with 20 pounds? Read on.
For starters, you can stick with the obvious. Chilled and eaten out of hand, a blood orange makes a perfect snack or dessert. A glass of the freshly squeezed juice is a brilliant way to start the day. But this juice is also delicious as a salad dressing, mixed with a little Dijon mustard and olive oil. Try it on a salad of bitter greens and orange sections, like this one, or a typically Sicilian version with slices of orange and fennel. Use the juice as a marinade for scallop ceviche, a refreshing cocktail, a fantastic sorbet (posting later this week) or a glaze for pork roast. I'm certain blood oranges would also be delicious in this flourless cake and this divine ice cream. Because of their smaller size, you should probably use an additional one for these last two recipes.
Inspired by this beautiful post, I decided to whip up a batch of blood orange caramels, which involved reducing 3 cups of juice down to 1/3 cup. The resulting syrup is bloody marvelous: deeply scarlet and intensely sweet with a slightly bitter undercurrent. I took it out into the snow to get a photo and the contrast was amazing.
Sadly, I did not watch the caramel mixture carefully enough and it scorched, so all was lost. A crying shame. Rather than attempt a second batch, I decided to make marmalade instead. OK, don't start to glaze over here. You can make just a small amount to keep in your fridge for yourself. Or you could put aside a bunch of jars that will be like money in the bank—great gifts from here to next Christmas. I consulted this recipe from my pal Julia, as well as this one from my go-to preserving cookbook. The latter calls for Seville oranges which are considerably more tart, so you should decrease the amount of sugar when using blood oranges.
As you can see from the first photo, above, I like to hand-slice the peel rather than use a food processor. I find this sort of activity to be pleasingly meditative, but the other way is quicker and perfectly acceptable. Either way, just a little blood, sweat and tears and you're golden.