My husband, daughter, and I are enjoying the abundance of citrus fruits available at the market during the winter months. Although there are several varieties of blood oranges, the variety that is easiest to find in Chicago is called Moro. These blood oranges have colorful flesh ranging from orange with hints of pink and red to dark crimson; the rind is orange with a slight blush. In a typical week, we may drink blood orange juice for breakfast, eat blood orange and fennel salad with coppa for lunch, tomato blood orange soup for dinner, and blood oranges with cinnamon for dessert. The Moro is available from late December until early April.
Blood Orange and Fennel Salad
- 1 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- 3 fennel bulbs
- 3 blood oranges
In a large bowl, make the vinaigrette by whisking together the vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cut off the stems from the fennel bulbs and remove any damaged outer layers. Holding the fennel by the feathery fronds, slice the it as thinly as possible with a sharp knife or mandolin stopping when you reach the fronds. Add the fennel slices to the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Roughly chop ¼ cup of the fennel fronds and set aside.
Segment the blood oranges by removing a ½ inch slice from the top and bottom. Set the blood oranges upright on a cutting board and carefully remove all of the peel and the pith following the curve of the fruit. Working over a small bowl to catch the juice, use a paring knife to slice along the membranes of each blood orange to separate the segments from the pith. Add the blood orange segments and 1 tablespoon of the juice to the bowl with the fennel and the vinaigrette and toss gently.
Transfer the salad to a serving platter and garnish with fennel fronds.
Warm tomato and blood orange soup is the perfect beginning to a winter meal and is especially appealing when served in Lilith Rockett porcelain cups.
Tomato and Blood Orange Soup
(inspired by Elephant’s Delicatessen in Portland, Oregon)
- ¼ cup ghee or extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 (14 ½ ounce) cans diced tomatoes
- 1-2 teaspoons kosher salt, to taste
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups blood orange juice
Heat the ghee or olive oil in a large pot over medium low. Add the onion and cook stirring often for 10 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and baking soda and stir to combine. Raise the heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes. When the soup has finished cooking, allow it to cool slightly. Blend the soup until smooth in a blender. Strain the soup through a fine sieve or food mill to remove any seeds and return it to the pot. Add the blood orange juice and stir to combine. Heat the soup and add additional salt and pepper to taste prior to serving.
Blood oranges served with a sprinkling of cinnamon is a refreshing dessert. It is the perfect finish to a Moroccan feast of traditional salads, tagine, and couscous.
Blood Oranges with Cinnamon
- 3-4 blood oranges
- ¼-½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon rose water or orange flower water (optional)
Peel the blood oranges by removing a ½ inch slice from the top and bottom. Set the blood oranges upright on a cutting board and carefully remove all of the peel and the pith following the curve of the fruit. Cut the blood oranges into ¼ inch slices. Arrange the orange slices in a circular pattern on a large plate and sprinkle with rose or orange flower water if desired. Just prior to serving, sift cinnamon over the oranges.
Blood Orange Mimosa
- 2 ounces blood orange juice, freshly squeezed
- French Champagne, Italian Prosecco, or Spanish Cava, chilled
Pour blood orange juice into a champagne flute. Slowly fill the flute with your choice of sparkling wine.
I hope these recipes will encourage you to add blood oranges to your breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert.