Season of the blood orange -
Published Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 1:00 am / Updated at 8:51 am
Season of the blood orange
Types of blood oranges
Your local grocery store may not have signs that say “blood oranges” in the produce section. Instead, look for these names among the citrus fruits.

The three most common types of blood oranges are the Tarocco (native to Italy), the Sanguinello (native to Spain), and the Moro, the newest variety of the three.

Moro: The most colorful of the blood oranges, with a deep red flesh and a rind that has a bright red blush. The flavor is stronger and the aroma is more intense than a normal orange. This fruit has a distinct, sweet flavor with a hint of raspberry. The Moro variety is believed to have originated at the beginning of the 19th century in the citrus-growing area around Lentini (in the Province of Siracusa in Sicily). The Moro is a “deep blood orange,” meaning that the flesh ranges from orange-veined with ruby coloration, to vermilion, to vivid crimson, to nearly black.

Tarocco: The name is thought to be derived from an exclamation of wonder expressed by the farmer who was shown this fruit by its discoverer. It is a medium-sized fruit and is perhaps the sweetest and most flavorful of the three types. It is referred to as “half-blood”, because the flesh is not accentuated in red pigmentation as much as with the Moro and Sanguinello varieties. It has thin orange skin, slightly blushed in red tones. It has the highest Vitamin C content of any orange variety grown in the world and it is easy to peel.
Sanguinello: Also called Sanguinelli in the United States, this variety has a reddish skin, few seeds, and a sweet and tender flesh. Sanguinello, the Sicilian late “full-blood” orange, is close in characteristics to the Moro. It matures in February, but can remain on trees unharvested until April. Fruit can last until the end of May. The peel is compact, and clear yellow with a red tinge. The flesh is orange with multiple blood-colored streaks.

The Recipes

Blood Orange and Clementine Galette
4 blood oranges
2 clementines or tangerines
Zest of ½ of a lemon
½ plus ¼ teaspoon of sugar, plus more for sprinkling on crust
1 pie crust pastry (I used the recipe using eggs)
Egg wash

Pie Crust
1½ cups all-purpose unbleached flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cubed and chilled (or popped in freezer for 15 minutes after cut into cubes)
¼ cup ice cold water or more if necessary OR 1 large egg with 2 teaspoons of water or more if necessary

Egg Wash
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon of water

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

To make crust, combine flour and salt in a food processor. Add cubes of chilled butter. Gently pulse food processor, until the butter is the size of small peas.

Evenly distribute the ice water, or egg and water mixture, and pulse just until the dough comes together in a ball. It may be necessary to add just a bit more moisture, a tablespoon at a time, just until the dough comes together.
Pour the dough onto a well-floured surface. In balls about the size of a walnut, gently push and smear the dough out with the heel of your hand, just once each ball. Continue until you have done this with all of the dough. Wrap dough in plastic and place in the refrigerator for a half hour to rest.

Remove peel, pith and membrane of both citrus, and cut into ¼-inch thick slices. Keep blood oranges and tangerines in separate bowls.

Gently toss sliced blood oranges with the lemon zest and ¼ teaspoon of sugar, or slightly more if the fruit is particularly sour.

Roll out pastry dough to ¼-inch thick, in either a large rectangle or circle. Carefully transfer to a baking sheet, lined with parchment or a Silpat. Lightly sprinkle pastry dough with a ½ teaspoon of sugar.

Arrange citrus slices evenly over the pastry, leaving an 1½-inch border around the outside. Fold pastry border up around the edges, overlapping if necessary, to enclose the fruit’s perimeter.

Brush top of pastry with an egg wash and sprinkle liberally with sugar.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden. Allow to cool slightly and serve with Cardamom Crème Anglaise.

Cardamom Crème Anglaise
1 cup milk
½ cup heavy cream
½ vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 tablespoon whole green cardamom pods, slightly smashed
Pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar

In a bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar, until thoroughly combined and pale yellow.

Over medium-high heat, toast cardamom pods in a heavy bottomed pot, until fragrant and slightly browned. Add milk, cream, vanilla bean and salt. Bring to a strong simmer. Turn off heat.
While whisking constantly, very slowly add some of the hot milk mixture to the yolks, a little at a time, until the bottom of the yolk bowl feels very warm, and the mixture has been brought to a much warmer temperature. Pour yolk mixture into the milk pot, and turn on heat to medium-low.

Get a bowl and fine strainer ready, over a bowl of ice water.

Stir the mixture continuously, paying attention to the corners of the pot, until the custard coats the back of a spoon, and when a finger is drawn across the coating, a strong line remains and doesn't drip down. Remove from heat immediately and strain into the bowl over the bowl of ice water. Stir gently to cool more quickly.
Serve slightly warm or chilled.
— Recipe courtesy Catie Baumer Schwalb,

Upside-Down Blood Orange Cake
Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
2 sticks plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 medium-sized blood oranges
1 cup fine cornmeal
½ cup all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Add the brown sugar and lemon juice; stir until sugar melts, about 3 minutes. Scrape mixture into bottom of prepared pan.

Grate ½ teaspoon zest from one of the oranges, then slice off the tops and bottoms of both oranges. Place oranges on a clean, flat surface, and slice away the rind and pith, top to bottom, following the curve of the fruit. Slice each orange crosswise into ¼-inch-thick wheels; discard any seeds. Arrange orange wheels on top of brown sugar mixture in a single, tight layer.

In a large bowl, whisk together orange zest, cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together remaining 2 sticks butter with granulated sugar. Beat in eggs, one a time, then beat in sour cream and vanilla. Fold in the dry mixture by hand.

Scrape batter into pan over oranges. Transfer to oven and bake until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan 10 minutes, then run a knife along pan's edges to loosen it; invert onto a platter and cool completely before serving.
Yield: 8 servings

Roasted Fish with Blood Orange and Fennel
Time: 45 minutes
2 fennel bulbs
2 limes
4 whole, cleaned black bass or other mild, flaky fish (about 1¼ pounds each)
3 tablespoons plus 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, more as needed
Black pepper, as needed
1 blood orange, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil; have ready a second rimmed baking sheet.
Trim the tops from the fennel bulbs and coarsely chop ¼ cup of the fronds; discard the stalks. Remove the outer layers of the fennel and halve each bulb through the root end. Thinly slice each bulb. Thinly slice one of the limes and quarter the other.

Pat each fish dry and coat each lightly with a teaspoon oil. Generously season fish inside and outside with salt and pepper. Transfer fish to the foil-lined baking sheet. Stuff each cavity with slices of lime and orange, fennel fronds and garlic.

Toss sliced fennel with 3 tablespoons oil, 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Spread on second baking sheet. Transfer fish and fennel to oven; roast fennel, tossing occasionally, until golden and tender, about 15 minutes. Bake fish until it is just opaque, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve fish drizzled with more olive oil and squeeze fresh lime juice on top. Serve with fennel on top or alongside.
Yield: 4 servings

The last bottle of holiday wine has been drunk, the discarded Christmas trees have been pulped to mulch. It's time to celebrate something new: the arrival of blood oranges.

Citrus season is in full swing, with tangerines, pomelos and Meyer lemons at their most fragrant and alluring. But none have the festive flair of the crimson-fleshed blood orange. And with more growers planting the somewhat finicky fruit, they are fast becoming nearly as easy to find as clementines — at least from now until April.

Blood oranges were the result of a spontaneous mutation of the sweet orange. The color develops when the fruit is grown in climates with cold nights and warm, sun-filled afternoons.

In Italy, blood oranges are the most popular kind of table oranges. Order a glass of orange juice in Rome and chances are you'll be served something ruby-hued. The best blood oranges there are rooted in the rich volcanic soil near Mount Etna in Sicily, though they can also grow in other parts of the Mediterranean. In the United States, most are grown in California's Central Valley, although Arizona and Texas cultivate the fruit as well. And you occasionally see blood oranges imported from Sicily; they tend to be juicer than their American cousins.

There are three main varieties: Italians swear by the variegated blond and scarlet Tarocco, which has a sweet, berrylike flavor and soft, easy-to-peel skin. Taroccos' red pigment deepens as they reach maturity, which in Italy happens around Valentine's Day.

Taroccos do not have a blush on their skins, which makes them a harder sell in the United States, said Celso Paganini, a partner in Porto Pavino, an Italian culinary importing company. Not so the Moro, whose striking, crimson flesh bleeds onto their skin as they mature. In Italy, tart Moros are mostly used for juice. But here in the States, the vibrant color has made them a favorite of chefs and mixologists alike.

Finally there's the thin-skinned Sanguinello, a full-blood variety (similar to the Moro) that isn't often seen here.

If you have a choice when you're shopping, choose the Moro for looks and the Tarocco for flavor. Either way, pick fruit that is heavy for its size, an indicator that it's full of juice (a good tip for any type of citrus).

You can eat blood oranges out of hand like navels. Or toss them into a simple winter salad dressed with olive oil and flaky salt. Or mix blood and regular oranges for a pretty salad that helps banish the winter blahs. Because of their acidity, blood oranges are also excellent with fish.

And although in Italy a blood orange is often served for dessert all by its lonesome, you can sugar things up by making them into an upside-down cake spiked with cornmeal. It's about as festive as a fruit dessert can get, especially in the cold days of a long winter.

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