When my granddaughter Lucy was a wee tot, she was often brought to the grocery store, an outing she still enjoys 12 years later. On one such early excursion, as she was perched in the grocery cart seat like a princess in a carriage, her mother gave her a blood orange to hold. After putting the fruit to her nose and sniffing it mightily, she gave out a small sigh and proclaimed, “It’s good!” It may have been the first sentence this child had ever put together.

Yes, the under-rated blood orange is indeed delicious, as well as quite fetching with its blushy orange-hued jacket and crimson flesh.

Included here are two recipes incorporating one of my favorite fruits that I tested especially for you, and I wasn’t disappointed.

The crunchy Asian Salad, prepared recently by my daughter, Katie, for a family dinner, is a dish I could eat every single day of the week for lunch. It also goes wonderfully well with the salmon entrée.

This tasty trio is just the ticket to brighten up a dull day in March.

Salmon with Citrus Salsa

1 (2-lb.) salmon filet

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 tbsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil

1 blood orange, thinly sliced

Preheat broiler to high and set the oven rack about 6 inches below it. Place salmon on a baking sheet. In a bowl, combine brown sugar, salt, pepper, garlic and lemon zest. Add olive oil to make a wet rub. Rub mixture on salmon. Place orange slices on top. Broil salmon for 6-8 minutes, or until opaque and flaky. Brush with melted butter and serve with salsa. Yield: 4 servings

Salsa

2 blood oranges, segmented and chopped

1 small shallot, diced

1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped

Juice of 1 lime

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients together in a bowl.

Crunchy Asian Salad

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced

2 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tbsp. honey

3 tbsp. sesame oil

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 tbsp. creamy peanut butter

2 tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted

4 cups carrot spirals

1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced

1/2 lb. snap peas

1 cucumber, thinly sliced

1/2 cup roasted cashews

1 tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted

In a medium bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients, except for 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds.

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add snap peas, and cook for 5 minutes, until peas are crisp-tender. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain again and set aside.

Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over all to coat. Garnish with sesame seeds. Yield: 4 servings

Blood Orange Cake

3/4 cup cake flour

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

2 tbsp. grated blood orange zest

1 tbsp. freshly squeezed blood orange juice

1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1/4 cup sour cream

1 tsp. vanilla

Syrup:

3 tbsp. granulated sugar

3 tbsp. freshly squeezed blood orange juice

Glaze:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

2-3 tbsp. freshly squeezed blood orange juice

Candied orange sections:

1 blood orange

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

Peel and section orange. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Add orange sections so they are in a single layer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes, turning the slices at least once. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to blend and set aside. With an electric mixer, combine sugar, eggs, orange zest and orange juice in a large bowl just until combined. With the mixer on low speed, blend in melted butter. Mix in half dry ingredients. Beat in sour cream and vanilla just until combined. Mix in remaining dry ingredients. Do not overbeat.

Transfer batter to pan. Bake 20 minutes then rotate the pan and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Continue baking 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan at least 15 minutes. Turn the cake out of the pan and transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet.

To make the syrup, combine sugar and orange juice in a small saucepan over medium heat, cooking just until the sugar is completely dissolved. Poke top of cake all over with a skewer and pour the syrup over the top.

When the cake is completely cool, make the glaze by combining confectioners’ sugar and orange juice in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Adjust the consistency as needed. Pour glaze over cake and garnish with orange slices. Let stand until the glaze sets. Yield: 8 servings

Blood oranges take the cake.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at [email protected]


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