Cast Iron

Caramelized Tangerine Vinaigrette

January  9, 2010
2 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Makes about 1/2 cup
Author Notes

As you may have noticed, we’ve been getting a lot of our recent cooking inspiration from you. In the same autumn salad contest that prompted Merrill’s post on Persimmon Chiffon Pie, there were a couple of dressing recipes that incorporated caramelized fruit. I like citrus-based vinaigrettes but sometimes the flavor is too thin, too faint and ephemeral. So I decided to try caramelizing some citrus before squeezing the juice for the dressing. I sliced a tangerine across its belly, dipped one half in raw sugar, then pressed it into a very hot pan. It sizzled and bounced like a soft-shell crab in butter, and when a rim of caramel formed around the edge, it was done. For the vinaigrette, I whisked in a dab of Dijon, a splash of white balsamic vinegar and a shot of olive oil. Turns out: eureka! The pale sweetness of the tangerine was enriched by the caramelization, giving the dressing both body and depth. —Amanda Hesser

What You'll Need
  • 1 small tangerine (or 2 clementines), halved through its belly
  • Raw sugar
  • Sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  1. Set a small sauté pan over medium high heat. Do not use cast iron. Dip the cut side of each tangerine half in the raw sugar – you want a light but thorough coating. When the pan is hot, press the sugared side of the tangerine onto the surface of the pan. Let bubble and sizzle until caramelized; keep a close eye, you don’t want them to blacken. Remove the tangerine halves to a plate.
  2. When the tangerine halves are cool, squeeze their juice into a bowl. Measure out 1/4 cup and pour this into a small bowl.
  3. Whisk in a pinch of salt, followed by the mustard and vinegar. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is emulsified. Taste and adjust seasoning -- if you want more acidity, add a little fresh lemon juice or more white balsamic.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • savorthis
  • Amanda Hesser
    Amanda Hesser
  • judy
  • PHIL
Amanda Hesser

Recipe by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.

5 Reviews

judy December 1, 2016
This sounds so bright and fresh. And just in time for citrus. Just like many have said, there are so many to try with this technique. Thank you! Saved this one for when I have citrus.
PHIL November 30, 2016
I am out of white balsamic, regular balsamic may be too strong? What about apple cider vinegar?
Amanda H. November 30, 2016
That would work -- also white wine vinegar.
PHIL November 30, 2016
Thanks, I like citrus based dressings too, I like to add the clementine wedges to the salad also. I have a few blood oranges , think I will try it a try with those.
savorthis July 10, 2013
This sounds amazing. I bet it would be great with grapefruit too for some nice bitterness.