It’s like a winter bonus: The bounty from my citrus trees, chilling in a small, separate refrigerator, just waiting to be whisked into salad dressings, spritzed over grilled fish, chopped and plopped into sangria, or frozen and magically transformed into creamy sorbet.
Sadly, my stash is almost gone. As spring approaches, I find myself counting the last few lemons and dreading their demise. What will I do? A trip to the mailbox just won’t be the same without a kumquat plucked from the tree and eaten on the spot. No Persian limes for iced tea, or a spiral zest of Meyer lemon for espresso?
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It can’t be all bad. There is one orange tree I’ve had no luck growing, and it’s probably the most scintillating. Luckily, this sultan of citrus will be in grocery stores through April. Beautifully mottled with reddish-orange specks and streaks, the crimson-fleshed blood orange is both sweet and tart, with berrylike notes. Without a doubt, the aromatic purple-maroon juice and garnet flesh are a cold-blooded treat.
You may be content to just savor them au naturel, but don’t overlook the creative possibilities. Not only is the taste unique, but the strikingly vibrant color adds zing to salads, roast chicken, sauces, desserts and cocktails. Seared scallops are superb drizzled with blood orange vinaigrette and zest, or try grilled salmon with blood orange and sweet pepper salsa. Slices of beets, blood oranges and kumquats will make a smashing salad. Squeeze some of this…