Round with bright flavors, citrus fruit bring the sun into our winter kitchens. Blood oranges, in particular, with their sweet hint of raspberry-like flavor and famous vermilion to ruby-colored flesh are true winter gems. Wanting to test a special, yet healthy Valentine’s Day dessert for my sweet-toothed husband, this recipe fulfilled all of my requirements: it was visually beautiful, full of flavor, and healthier than an average Valentine’s Day dessert. Although the marinated oranges were delicious all by themselves, the sweet-tart flavor of the blood oranges mixed with the vanilla and citrus liqueur Tuaca proved to be the perfect counterpoint to a scoop of creamy vanilla bean ice cream. This refreshing fruit compote can also be served with just a dollop of whipped cream or a wedge of ricotta cheesecake.
As an added bonus, blood oranges are high in antioxidants. Although they are widely grown in Italy and Spain, these beautiful citrus fruit are also grown in California and Texas. Look for them in your grocery stores from about December through March.
Marinated Blood Oranges
Recipe from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Mediterranean Cooking
3 pounds blood oranges
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup Tuaca or other orange liqueur
1. Using a sharp knife, cut a slice off both ends of each orange to reveal the flesh.
2. Place the orange upright on the cutting board and, using the knife, cut downward to remove all of the peel and white pith, following the contour of the fruit.
3. Holding the the fruit over a bowl to catch the juices, cut on either side of each segment to free it from the membrane, letting it fall into the bowl.
4. In a small bowl, stir together the lemon juice, sugar, and Tuaca. Pour the mixture over the orange segments and toss gently to combine. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.
5. To serve, spoon the fruit and syrup into compote glasses.
Makes 4-6 servings.
1. Be careful when cutting blood oranges, the red juice can stain.
2. The cookbook mentions that you can substitute Grand Marnier alone or add a few drops of vanilla extract to it in lieu of using Tuaca.