Here & Now resident chef Kathy Gunst has been thinking citrus: blood oranges, cara cara oranges, grapefruits and Meyer lemons.
“Citrus is kind of this perfect food,” she tells host Jeremy Hobson. “It’s low in calories, high in potassium, tons of vitamin C.”
Citrus can be used in salads, to enhance meat or fish, in desserts and even drinks. Gunst brings in a variety of fruit to taste, as well as a Meyer lemon tart and a blood orange soda. She also shares four recipes:
- Blood Orange Syrup
- Chicken Salad with Blood Oranges, Candied Walnuts and Baby Spinach
- John’s Cross-Town Tropical Grapefruit, Avocado and Banana Salad
- Meyer Lemon Tart
Blood Orange Syrup
Kathy’s Note: Use a tablespoon or two of this gorgeous sweet syrup in fruit salads, on ice cream, or added to a glass of seltzer, sparkling white wine or Champagne for a delicious sweet citrus-flavored drink.
3 cups water
1 cup sugar
½ cup blood orange or orange juice
Bring the water to boil over high heat. Stir in the sugar, reduce the heat and let simmer about 12-16 minutes, or until the syrup reduces and thickens slightly. Add the juice and simmer another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and store in a well sealed glass jar in the refrigerator for at least a week.
Makes about 3 cups.
Chicken Salad with Blood Oranges, Candied Walnuts and Baby Spinach
Kathy’s Note: Use a deli-roasted chicken or leftover meat from a poached, roasted, or broiled chicken to make this vibrant winter salad. You can easily substitute tangerines, or regular oranges for the blood oranges in the salad, but you’ll miss the vibrant reddish-pink color and distinctively sweet flavor. Serve with hot crusty bread, muffins, or biscuits.
For the chicken:
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon grated or finely chopped fresh ginger
4 tablespoons blood orange juice (from 1 large orange), or regular orange juice
1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Generous grinding black pepper
2 cups cooked chicken, cut into thin strips or small cubes
1 blood orange, or regular navel orange
For the walnuts and the salad:
1 teaspoon butter
2/3 cup walnut halves
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
Generous grinding of black pepper
1 tablespoon good-quality honey
About 2 cups baby spinach, spinach, arugula, or a mixture of your favorite greens, stems removed from larger leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
In a medium bowl, mix the mayonnaise, ginger, orange juice, salt, and pepper. Gently mix in the chicken strips.
Peel the blood orange and separate into segments; cut each segment in thirds, removing the seeds. Gently fold half the orange segments into the chicken salad; set the remaining orange segments aside.
To toast the walnuts, heat the butter over medium heat in a small skillet. Add the walnuts, salt, and pepper and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the honey, stir well to coat the nuts, and cook for another minute.
Place the spinach on a medium-size serving plate. Place the chicken salad in the middle of the greens and scatter the reserved orange sections over the chicken salad and the greens. Scatter the walnuts all over the salad and drizzle the oil and vinegar over the greens. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Serves 3 to 4.
John’s Cross-Town Tropical Grapefruit, Avocado and Banana Salad
1 grapefruit, cut in half
1 orange, cut in half
6 large romaine leaves or 1 cup arugula
1 banana, peeled and sliced
1 ripe avocado, thinly sliced or cut into chunks
2 tablespoons lemon juice or wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Using a small, sharp knife, remove the sections from the grapefruit and the orange, reserving the juices
Place the lettuce leaves on a serving plate. Top with the fruit and avocado.
Meyer Lemon Tart
Kathy’s Note: This is an adaptation of a recipe for lemon bars from “The Model Bakery Cookbook” by Karen Mitchell and Sarah Mitchell Hansen with Rick Rodgers (Chronicle Books).
1/2 cup room temperature butter, cut into small pieces, plus butter for greasing the pan
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus flour for dusting the pan
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon Meyer or regular lemon juice (from 2-3 lemons)
Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and lightly flour a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.
In a large bowl whisk the flour and sugar. Add the butter and using your fingers or a pastry cutter blend the butter into the flour and sugar mixture until crumbly. Press the mixture into the bottom and sides of the tart pan. Bake on the middle shelf for around 20 minutes, or until the crust begins to turn golden. Remove from the oven and place on a cookie or baking sheet.
Make the filling: Whisk the sugar and flour together in a large bowl. Add the eggs and lemon juice and whisk until smooth. Pour over the hot crust and place the tart back on the middle shelf. Bake for about 22-25 minutes, or until the center seems set when you lightly jiggle the tart. Remove and let cool on a wire rack.
Serves 6 to 8.