A touch of citrus brightens winter meals

Flavorful, colorful fruits add zest to food while increasing nutrient and antioxidant levels

Is there anything more inviting than the bright taste and aroma of citrus in winter? With its bright yellow, orange and green colors, fresh citrus brings a dash of color and an infusion of flavor to meals.

It can also add nutrition, whether in a soup, salad, side dish, entree or dessert. Studies show most adults consume less fruit than recommended, and adding citrus to a meal can help remedy this.

Citrus fruits add not only vitamin C but numerous antioxidants to the diet, helping people to maintain a healthy immune system, keep skin and gums healthy and strengthen bones.

Most citrus fruits have high levels of potassium, vitamin A and fiber.

You can add pieces of the fruit to a dish, or just the juice or zest to bring out a new dimension.

Before juicing, roll the room temperature fruit on the counter first to maximize the amount of juice.

When zesting, remember not to get any of the bitter white pith mixed in with the peel.

When buying citrus, look for fruit that is firm and heavy for its size with bright, colorful skin and a fresh scent. Avoid fruit with bruised, wrinkled or discolored skins because this indicates it is old or has been stored incorrectly.

Don’t worry if you see a Valencia orange with slightly green-colored skin. This is a natural process that can occur in warm weather, even though the fruit is ripe.

Most citrus fruits will keep at room temperature for several days. For best results, store citrus in a plastic bag or the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.

Fresh-squeezed juice and grated peel or zest may be refrigerated or frozen. Grated peel can be frozen and used when a recipe calls for zest.

Following are a few recipes for citrus fruits from seriouseats.com and 101cookbooks.com.



Winter Citrus Salad With Black Pepper, Feta and Mint

3 blood oranges
3 minneolas or tangerines
1 naval or cara cara orange
1 white grapefruit
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint leaves
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Cracked black pepper

    Peel citrus fruits using a knife to remove as much white pith as possible. Slice into wheels about 1/4-inch thick, discarding any seeds. Layer fruit on a large serving platter, overlapping slices.
    Whisk together olive oil, vinegar and honey and season with salt. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad and garnish with mint, feta and pepper. Serve immediately.
    Makes four servings.


Pine Nut Pound Cake With Blood Orange Glaze

For cake:
1-1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons buttermilk
1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted and cooled
For glaze:
1/2 teaspoon blood orange zest
2 tablespoons blood orange juice
1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

    In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
    In a the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar about three minutes, until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla. Beat in buttermilk. Add dry ingredients and beat until just combined. Stir in pine nuts.
    Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and smooth top. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 50 to 55 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and finish cooling on a plate or wire rack.
    In a small bowl, whisk together zest, juice and confectioners sugar until smooth.
    Take a toothpick and prick cake all over. Slowly pour glaze evenly over the top of cake. Let stand about 20 minutes, until glaze is set, then serve.


Meyer Lemon Cake

For cake:
1-3/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons grated zest plus 1/4 cup juice of Meyer lemons
2-1/4 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
8 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
For curd:
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons grated zest plus 1/2 cup juice of Meyer lemons
2 teaspoons cornstarch
6 large eggs, room temperature
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ounces unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

    To make cake, pulse 1-1/2 cups sugar and zest in food processor until no zest strands remain and sugar is damp and yellow. Alternatively, rub the zest into the sugar with fingertips.
    Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in medium bowl. Set aside. Combine milk, lemon juice, and vanilla in glass measuring cup. Set aside.
    In large bowl, whip egg whites with whisk attachment on medium speed about two minutes, until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar and continue whipping one to two minutes, until stiff peaks form. If you used the stand mixer bowl, transfer whites to separate bowl.
    Beat butter and lemon sugar with paddle attachment on medium speed about two  minutes, until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with milk mixture. Fold in egg whites.
    Coat two nine-inch cake pans with baking spray and place parchment paper on the bottom and coat it with spray. Divide batter between the pans.    
    Bake  in a 350-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until tester inserted in center of cakes comes out clean. Transfer to cooling racks and cool 10 minutes in pans. Turn cakes out onto racks, peel off parchment, then invert layers so the tops are facing up. Cool completely.
    For curd, pulse zest and sugar in food processor until no zest strands remain and sugar is damp and yellow. Alternatively, rub the zest into the sugar with fingertips.
    Whisk lemon sugar, cornstarch, eggs, egg yolks and salt in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add juice and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, for eight to 10 minutes, until thickened and the consistency of pudding. Once mixture reaches a boil, cook and whisk two minutes longer.
    Strain curd into medium bowl. Add butter and stir until completely incorporated. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard and refrigerate until completely chilled.
    With a serrated knife, cut each cake in half to create four equal layers. Place one layer on a serving dish or cake stand and spread with one third of the cooled curd. Repeat with remaining cake layers and curd.
    Sift confectioners’ sugar over cake. Serve.


Salmon With Thyme and Three Lemon Creme Fraiche

1 bunch fresh thyme sprigs, plus 2 teaspoons thyme leaves
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced, plus 1 tablespoon juice and 1 teaspoon zest from the other half
3 to 4 large boneless skinless salmon filets
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped preserved lemon, optional
1/2 cup crème fraîche

    Place thyme sprigs and sliced lemon in a pile in the center of a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil that’s large enough to hold the salmon. Rub salmon on all sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place salmon on top of thyme/lemon and roast in a 350-degree oven for 15 to 25 minutes, until the internal temperature registers 125 to 130 degrees for medium-rare or 140 degrees for medium. Remove from oven and allow to rest five minutes or cool to room temperature.
    Stir together thyme leaves, lemon juice, lemon zest, preserved lemon and crème fraîche. Season with salt and pepper.
    Serve salmon either hot or at room temperature with lemon sauce.


Roasted Sweet Potato Soup With Pistachio, Orange and Mint Salsa

4 pounds sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
6 tablespoons vegetable, canola, or grapeseed oil
Kosher salt
4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed
2 sprigs sage, optional
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup fresh juice and 1 tablespoon freshly grated zest from 1 medium orange
3/4 cup shelled roasted pistachios, crushed
2 scallions, thinly sliced, white and light green parts only
2 tablespoons very thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
Pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

    Toss sweet potatoes with four tablespoons vegetable oil and salt. Spread on two rimmed baking sheets and bake in a 300-degree oven for 1 hour, rotating pans front to back and top to bottom halfway through cooking. Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees and roast about 25 minutes, until sweet potatoes are tender and lightly browned around the edges.
    In a large pot, heat remaining vegetable oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add carrot, onion, garlic, sage and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until vegetables are just tender.
    Add sweet potatoes and stock and bring to a simmer. Cook 10 minutes, until vegetables are very tender. Discard sage. Add orange juice and, using an immersion or standing blender, puree soup until smooth. Season with salt.
    If desired, pass soup through a fine mesh strainer using a rubber spatula to plunge and scrape soup through. If necessary, thin soup to desired consistency with extra stock or water.
    In a mixing bowl, stir together pistachios, orange zest, scallions, mint and cayenne pepper. Fold in olive oil and season with salt.
    Serve soup, spooning pistachio salsa on top.



Clementine Fennel Potatoes

3 tablespoons ouzo
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 tablespoon dried fennel seeds
3 to 5 sprigs fresh thyme
1-1/2 pounds potatoes
1 fennel bulb
2 clementines

    Mix together ouzo, oil, juices, mustard, sugar and fennel seeds together. Set aside.
    Cut fennel bulb in half, then cut each half in four wedges.
    Wash clementines, then slice them thinly and crosswise, keeping the skin on.
    In a 9-by-11-inch baking dish, combine the potatoes, fennel wedges and clementine slices. Pour marinade over the mixture, stirring gently to coat. Slip in the sprigs of thyme and season with salt and pepper.
    Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 to 45 minutes, until cooked through and golden. If desired, broil for the last three minutes, watching to ensure the food doesn’t burn.


Honey Rosemary Grapefruit Sodas

For rosemary-grapefruit simple syrup:
1 cup water
3/4 cup cane sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice
2 large strips grapefruit zest
2 to 3 large sprigs fresh rosemary
For sodas:
1 to 2 parts rosemary simple syrup
2 parts fresh grapefruit juice
3 to 4 parts sparkling water
For garnish:
Fresh rosemary sprigs
Grapefruit slices

    To make simple syrup, heat water, sugar, honey and grapefruit juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about five minutes, until sugar is dissolved.
    Add grapefruit zest and rosemary and gently simmer another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and steep as long as an hour.
    Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a glass jar and chill. Syrup can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for about a week.
    To make sodas, fill a highball glass with ice. Add rosemary simple syrup and fresh grapefruit juice. Stir to combine. Top with soda/sparkling water.
    Garnish with grapefruit slices and/or a sprig of rosemary and serve.



Broiled Grapefruit With Honey Yogurt and Granola

For broiled grapefruits
3 grapefruits
6 tablespoons raw sugar or brown sugar Sprinkle ground ginger
Sprinkle ground cinnamon
Dash sea salt
For serving:
Greek yogurt

    Cut off about 1/4-inch of the peel on the base and stem end of each grapefruit, then slice each grapefruit in half parallel to your initial cuts so each half can stand. Place grapefruit halves face-down on paper towels for about five minutes.
    In a small bowl, mix together raw or brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon and salt.
    Place grapefruit halves face-up on a rimmed baking sheet or a 13-by-9-inch glass pan. Sprinkle each half liberally with sugar mixture, using about 1 tablespoon per halve. Broil for seven to 10 minutes, until sugar is melted and turning deep amber.
    Let the grapefruits cool for at least a few minutes, then serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of yogurt, drizzle of honey and handful of granola.


Red Cabbage Orange Salad

1/2 small red cabbage
Juice of an orange
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 large orange thinly sliced
1/4 pomegranate arils

    Slice cabbage very finely and place in a large bowl. Add orange juice, olive oil, mustard, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Use your hands to mix very thoroughly, massaging for about a minute.
    Add the orange slices and pomegranate arils. Either serve immediately or store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for as long as five days.
    Add a tablespoon of balsamic or rice vinegar if you prefer a more acidic salad.





Click Here to Send a Letter to the Editor

Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


User login