When did the blood orange drop its blood and become a blush? I planned to make a citrus salad this week and found myself getting all hot under the collar when I spotted blush oranges in the supermarket. Is this some poncey marketing ploy? Please tell me that they’re a slightly different type of orange, and not that “bloody” is somehow deemed too gruesome or coarse a term for your average shopper. My local green grocer, Reg the Veg, does thankfully continue to sell blood oranges amongst a fabulous range of other seasonal citrus fruit.
I have to confess that I’d never even heard of a Mineola or a Nadorcott before, they sound like something the Jabberwock might have gorged on, but I decided to have a citrus fest and buy a selection. I had a slightly tired looking Navel Orange languishing back at home in the fruit bowl too. I wish I could be bothered to peel them more often, once I’m over the faff oranges are one of my favourite things to eat. There’s a lady who always smuggles an orange into the sauna where I go to swim and I tell you, there is nothing better than a segment of chilled orange (she’s always very generous) in the sweltering heat and it smells pretty wonderful too. …..I resolve to use all citrus fruits before they turn blue and squashy this year. Below was the line up for my citrus salad.
Moving clockwise the Blood Orange – stunning to look at, bursting with intense citrussy-raspberry flavour and filled with magical anthocyanin (a powerful anti-oxidant).
Dipping down to the right we have the Nadorcott ( a seedless cross between an orange and a mandarin) – oooh easy to peel, very, very tasty and maybe my new desert island fruit
Top right, the Ruby Grapefruit that’s just that bit sweeter than your average grapefruit and looks stunning too.
Below is the Mineola,( a very juicy cross between a grapefruit and a tangerine) apparently also known as a honeybell – ever heard of one? I hadn’t either. Comes in at my number 3, after the Nardacott and the blood orange.
Bottom left is the leafy Clementine, the easiest of the lot to peel but perhaps my least favourite.
Citrus Fruit Salad and Rosemary Syrup for 4
A sprig of rosemary ( and perhaps a couple of extras for garnish)
4 tbsp sugar
150 ml water
About 8 pieces of fruit (to include at least 1 grapefruit)
Put the rosemary in a small saucepan with the sugar and water. Heat over a medium flame until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid has bubbled down to a syrup. Set the pan aside and leave to continue infusing.
Meanwhile slice the peel off the fruit. I like to cut most of it into segments; a good serrated fruit knife is definitely the best tool for the job. You can squeeze the membrane left behind to make the most of any juice. Cut a couple of the smaller fruit into “equatorial” slices to add a bit extra interest. I did add the juice from a bitter Seville orange, as you can see in the picture below it was far to pippy and leathery to cut up.
Now pour over enough of the rosemary syrup to sweeten the fruit – do taste to gauge how much you need. The rosemary should be a subtle, almost indiscernable background flavour. The combination of citrus and rosemary is divine. Try making the syrup and pouring it over any lemon or orange cake. I’m planning on making an orange and rosemary jelly too.
You might find it tricky tracking down the Nadorcotts and Mineolas but be sure to snap up some blood oranges whilst you can, their season is short. They’re great for juicing, I love them in a Moroccan style salad with mint and black olives and Stevie Parle makes an amazing salad with mozzarella and fennel