This article is brought to you by our friends at Electrolux as part of an ongoing series focusing on seasonal ingredients. This month we're talking citrus.
Today: Brighten up your winter dinner spread with some warm roasted citrus.
Leafless trees and freezing commutes aside, produce aisles may be the bleakest part of winter. Without tomatoes, figs, and cherries on the shelves for inspiration, our fresh and colorful dinners can too easily fall few and far between. In the face of dinners featuring canned goods and root vegetables, our one respite is the citrus aisle. A bag of winter citrus, like clementines or grapefruit, can go a long way in adding some color into our winter diets, especially when roasted.
More: No time to cook? Even raw grapefruit can brighten up the gloomiest days with a bright salad.
Rather than dry the juices out, baking citrus at a high temperature concentrates its sugars and therefore, its flavor. The entire process is similar to that of roasting vegetables (you don’t even have to bother with peeling) -- in fact, you can combine citrus and vegetables in the same pan to infuse them with bright, tangy flavor.
To roast citrus by itself, place an oven rack in the middle of your oven, then heat it to 350º F. Grab your favorite winter citrus (grapefruit, blood or satsuma oranges, and clementines all work well), then slice it into small wedges or half-moons. Drizzle with olive oil, some salt and pepper, and whatever herbs you have on hand. Roast on a baking pan lined with parchment paper for about 25 to 35 minutes, until the citrus slices are tender and the outer edges begin to caramelize. (Alternatively, just stick the citrus slices under the broiler -- but keep a close eye on them.) Now that you have warm, sweet citrus, here's how to use it:
1. Use it as a side for roast meat.
Citrus works as a natural tenderizer for meat, so next time you make a flank steak, consider marinating it in some lemon juice, then serve it with a few wedges of roasted lemon to tie the meal together.
2. Turn it into a bright winter salad.
Bright citrus can improve almost any salad. Feel free to adapt your favorite citrus salad, subbing raw fruit for roasted, or slice the citrus into quarter-half-moons for Molly Stevens' Roasted Fennel, Red Onion, and Orange Salad.
3. Serve it for dessert.
While roasted citrus can add sweetness to any savory dish, it can also hold its own as the centerpiece of a sweet dessert. Either roast it with some of the fig honey you made last summer or drizzle some rum caramel sauce on top.
4. Roast the citrus together with chicken.
Cut out the middleman and roast citrus in the same pan as your dinner. For a roasted chicken with citrus, stuff the chicken -- anything you have on hand works -- then leave some extra slices in the pan to caramelize.
5. Serve it with your favorite grains.
Many grains, like farro, bulgur, and quinoa are immediately improved by a squeeze of lemon (think of tabouli). Following this logic, consider adding some roasted citrus to your next grain bowl or grain-based salad.
Photos by Mark Weinberg and James Ransom