Even though citrus is generally thought of as a winter fruit (at least in my Pennsylvania area), the bright fresh flavors go perfectly in my favorite summer salads and marinades. I went on a quest to find some summer citrus and luckily I didn't have to look very far. I did a quick search for summer oranges and found that Sunkist® Valencia oranges are perfectly ripe, sweet and juicy now, in the middle of summer.
I also found out that Sunkist® Valencia oranges may "re-green" in warm weather. When Valencia's ripen on the tree, they turn a bright orange color but warm temperature may make their skin reabsorb chlorophyll as they hang on the tree causing the orange color to look partly green - although the outside is green, the inside remains ripe and delicious! Check out this Sunkist Valencia Oranges Re-greening Video that shows how beautiful that inside is and a few tips on how to peel this beauty.
While I was on the Sunkist® site, I also looked for some new recipes. This one really caught my eye:
- 3 Sunkist® Valencia oranges, segmented and zested
- 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 lb tub Bocconcini mozarella
- 1/4 cup Opal (purple) basil, shredded into small pieces
- 20 whole wheat crackers
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh rosemary
- 1/4 cup fresh thyme
- 1/8 cup fresh oregano
- 1 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp black pepper
1 - Cut the Bocconcini into halves
2 - Zest the Valencia oranges using a micro plane or fine grater and set aside. To segment the oranges, cut off the top and bottom.
3 - Lay the orange on a flat surface, using a paring knife remove the skin and white pith. Carefully cut and release each segment from between the membranes and set aside.
4 - In a blender, add the olive oil, orange zest and fresh herbs. Pulse until blended, continue to blend on medium speed until the herbs and zest are finely chopped, add the pepper and pulse quickly. Pour into a jar or plastic container. Leftover oil can be refrigerated for up to one month and used as a marinade for fish, poultry or vegetables.
5 - Toss the orange segments, cherry tomatoes, Bocconcini and basil lightly with 3/4 cup of orange scented herb oil and season with salt.
To serve, top each cracker with the mixture and serve. Makes 10 servings.
Here's a link to additional Sunkist citrus recipes. I've already filed lots of them into my 'must try' folder!