Peel Here for a Sunshiny Day
Embrace winter by inviting citrus fruit to your table
When I was a kid (I know: commence yawn), people still sent citrus fruit up from Florida to the northeast. They’d go on vacation, there’d be these places that specialized in sending mostly grapefruits, oranges, and occasionally tangerines (mandarins, kumquats, pomelos … these were virtually unheard of), they’d stop and fill out a form and pay, and a week later you’d get a crate of citrus that was immeasurably better than what you were buying in the supermarket.
Those days do seem to have ended, but they were the inspiration (and the reason) for the Bi-Rite box we started a few years ago. (Unfortunately – and this happens when real people and real agriculture are involved, we had to cancel a number of shipments, plus all remaining, of the Bi-Rite x Bittman boxes this year, for weather issues.)
But there is such a thing as too much citrus; you might eat a few pieces a day out of hand, but the novelty does wear off (doesn’t it? It does for me, anyway). And there’s even such a thing as too much marmalade.
Here Kerri is, as usual, to the rescue, with a little collection of simple recipes featuring, well, citrus. There’s no intention to serve these together, but they’re different enough so you can make them all within a couple of days and not feel overwhelmed by either work or flavors. Of these, my favorite is the fennel-orange salad, which has been a staple in my life for literally 20 years. Try it with a few added olives. Read on for:
Orange-Ginger Tea, Wet or Dry
Fennel and Orange Salad
Boneless Chicken in Packages with Orange
See you Wednesday, friends.
Orange-Ginger Tea, Wet or Dry
Makes: 4 servings
Time: 15 to 25 minutes
Replacing some of the water with freshly squeezed orange juice—or adding chopped fruit—is an easy way to flavor tea. As is the addition of some booze. You also choose the kind of tea, whether to enjoy this hot or cold, and how to garnish. We don't even care what kind of oranges you use, so long as there are a lot of them.
2 cups freshly squeezed juice from any oranges
1 to 2 tablespoons loose leaf black, green, or herb tea (or 2 or 3 tea bags)
5 nickel-size coins fresh ginger (don’t bother to peel)
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
1 or more oranges and other citrus for garnish
Sugar to taste
6 to 8 ounces rum, whiskey, or tequila (optional)
1. Put the orange juice in a small pot with 2 cups water and add the tea, ginger, and cinnamon. Turn the heat to medium and heat until steam rises from the surface. Turn off the heat and cover; let steep for 5 to 15 minutes, depending on how strong you want it.
2. Remove strips of zest from the citrus garnish, peel the fruit and slice crosswise into wheels, separate into segments, or chop them—however you'd like. Skewer on long toothpicks or swizzle sticks or spoon them into the bottom of four serving glasses.
3. Strain the tea; return to the pan and reheat gently. Add the liquor and sugar to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve cold over ice.
— Recipe adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Completely Revised Tenth Anniversary Edition
Makes: About 2 cups
Time: 15 minutes
Tomato salsa—like this chunky, pico de gallo-style version—is America’s favorite condiment for good reason, since you can use it for saucing meats, vegetables, eggs, or grains; as a dip for everything from crudités to dumplings; or served the usual way with chips, tacos, and burritos. In winter, citrus salsa is a much better choice than terrible tomatoes, and you can use it all the same ways. For a smooth salsa, simply combine the ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until it's as smooth as you like.