Savory or sweet, breakfast or dinner, snack or full meal, citrus is a versatile complement to all. The peaches and plums are long gone, the fresh raspberries are a figment of our local food memories, but citrus is in season, and it is beautiful. Against the snowy white of our outdoor backdrop, these colorful fruits are a cheerful addition to our meals.

Citrus fruits have tang and brightness – whether it’s softer, sweeter oranges; sour, verging on bitter, grapefruits; or sharp lemons. The flavors are distinct and the culinary uses boundless.

We are lucky that citrus is a fundraiser for our daughters’ school, so our barn is now packed with boxes of oranges and grapefruits, and our bodies are packed to the brim with vitamin C – a welcome commodity in the season of coughs and colds.

These recipes provide a few ways to add zest to your meals and maybe boost your immune systems.

Broiled Grapefruit

Serves 2

1 red or pink grapefruit, room temperature

Per half:

1 teaspoon Rose’s grenadine

1 teaspoon brown sugar

Several grinds of fresh black pepper

Preheat the broiler.

Cut the grapefruit in half and release the segments by running a knife around the outer edge of the halves and between each membrane.

Rub each half with grenadine and then sprinkle with the sugar and pepper.

Put the halves on a baking sheet or in a 9 x 9 pan and place under the broiler. When the edges begin to brown, remove and serve immediately. This takes only a minute or two, so don’t walk away.

Moroccan Chicken With Preserved Lemons and Kalamata Olives

Sure, it’s easier to buy chicken pieces in parts – look for 8 pieces that include at least breasts and thighs, if not the legs and wings. But you’ll miss the wonderful opportunity to use the back bone to make your own stock. And at this time of year, homemade stock is a luxury that brings a little extra heat into our homes. If you can’t eat gluten, omit the flour – the sauce will be somewhat thinner. Serve the chicken over a bed of couscous or quinoa.

Serves 4 to 6

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon paprika

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 (5-pound) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces (reserve the extra bones and organs to make stock)

2 cups sliced onions (about 1 large onion)

11/2 tablespoons minced garlic

1/2 cup chopped preserved lemons

1/2 cup pitted and chopped Kalamata olives, (generous 1/4 cup of the juice reserved)

1/2 cup white wine

2 cups diced tomatoes

Several grinds of black pepper

Combine the spices and flour in a medium-sized bowl.

Heat the oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, coat the chicken with the spice mixture and carefully add the chicken to the pan. Brown on one side for 6 to 8 minutes, and then turn with tongs. Brown on the second side for another 6 to 8 minutes and then transfer to a platter.

Add the onions to the skillet and reduce heat to medium. Sauté for 10 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the garlic and then the lemons and olives and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine, tomatoes, pepper and 1/4 cup olive juice. Taste for salt. Either add more olive juice or salt, if needed.

Return the chicken with any chicken juices to the skillet and bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Chocolate-Orange Pound Cake

I like to make this cake on cold days, as it bakes for over an hour, making my kitchen toasty warm. You’ll need candied orange peel and orange extract.

Makes 12 large or 16 smaller servings


11/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, very soft

21/2 cups sugar

7 large eggs

1/3 cup candied orange peel

11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon orange extract

1/3 cup sour cream

1/3 cup milk

31/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

11/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips


2 tablespoons orange marmalade

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour a bundt pan.

To make the cake, place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Cream them together at medium speed, then slowly add the eggs, orange peel, extracts, sour cream and milk. Sift in the flour, salt and baking powder and beat on low speed until just combined, stopping occasionally to scrape the bowl. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake until the cake springs back when lightly touched in the center, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Cool the cake upright on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes. Tap the sides and invert the cake onto the cooling rack.

Meanwhile, to make the glaze, mix all the ingredients together in a small pan and simmer briefly until the sugar is melted. Use a pastry brush to brush the warm cake with the glaze. Cool the glazed cake completely before serving, 1 to 2 hours.

Anne Mahle of Rockland is the author of “Sugar and Salt: A Year at Home and at Sea.” She blogs at and can be reached at:

[email protected]

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