3 Seasonal Citrus Fruit Recipes from Metro Phoenix Chefs

Arizona Kumquat Cake
Arizona Kumquat Cake

Last week, we brought you tips on how to grow your own citrus, and this week, we're giving you the easy way out. After consulting our favorite places to enjoy local citrus freshness, we now have three recipes to share with you. If you don't have a citrus tree available to you, stop by a farmers market to buy the fruit to make these dishes or just dine out locally to enjoy the fruits of someone else's labor.

See also: 5 Ways to Cook and Bake with Citrus

Two wonderful upscale restaurants and one amazing natural cafe have graciously shared some unique ways to use grapefruit, lemons, oranges, and even kumquats. SASSI and Quiessence grow their own citrus on site, and 24 Carrots purchases from Agritopia.

Quiessence's Arizona Kumquat Cake (Grown locally at South Mountain) From Chef Dustin Christofolo

For the fruit layer: 3 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar 2 cups of kumquats sliced into thirds, and seeds removed. For the cake layer: 8 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 large eggs, at room temperature 1 1/2 cups flour 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature

Method Preheat oven to 350 degrees In a 10-inch cast iron skillet or cake pan (not a springform pan), melt the butter and brown sugar over medium heat. Cook, while stirring with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts and bubbles. Set aside and allow to cool while you make the cake batter. Beat together the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until fluffy. Add the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, alternating with the milk until the batter is smooth. Do not over mix.

Arrange the fruit in the bottom of the skillet or pan, cut side down. If you have two cut sides on a piece, place the largest end facing down. Work from the outside of the pan, creating a tight ring of fruit. Continue until you have covered the bottom of the pan. Pour the batter on top of the fruit and spread it towards the sides. Place in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes until a wooden pick comes out clean. Allow the pan to cool for 20 minutes. To flip the cake, place a plate on top of the skillet or pan. Put on your oven mitts just in case some hot juices escape. Flip the cake over and it should pop right out.  

SASSI's Seared Sea Scallops with Grapefruit, Almond Pesto and Preserved Citrus (Grown on site) From Chef Chris Nicosia

Red grapefruit segments 20 each Baby organic lettuce leaves 4 cups Fresh tarragon leaves ½ cup Extra virgin olive oil ½ cup Salt and pepper to taste U/10 Sea Scallops (dry pack) 12 each Almond Pesto* ¼ cup Preserved Lemons and Oranges*, finely diced ¼ cup *see sub recipes

• Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat • Season scallops with salt and pepper, add ¼ cup olive oil to pan and add scallops taking care not to crowd them in the pan. Work in batches if necessary. • Sear scallops on both sides until a nice golden brown crust forms. • Remove Scallops to a plate and keep warm • Toss grapefruit segments, baby lettuce leaves, tarragon leaves, extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste in a large mixing bowl. • Divide among four warm plates, arrange sea scallops on top of, or around grapefruit salad. • Add a dollop of almond pesto next to each scallop, and sprinkle scallop and pesto with diced preserved citrus.

*Almond Pesto Sliced garlic ½ cup Extra virgin olive oil 1 cup Marcona almonds, toasted 2 cups Thyme leaves 2 Tbsp Orange zest, grated 2 Tbsp Lemon zest, grated 2 Tbsp Chile flakes to taste Salt and pepper to taste • Heat olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat and add garlic • Cook garlic until soft and remove from heat and allow to cool completely • Combine all ingredients, including the garlic and oil in a food processor and puree until smooth. • Use water to thin out pesto to desired consistency.

*Preserved Citrus Note: Preserve each citrus variety separately. Choose thin-skinned fruit. Avoid preserving grapefruit, as the result is very bitter. Keep in mind that you need at least a month to preserve citrus.

Preserved lemons Kosher salt Fennel seed Bay leaf Lemons, washed, blemish free Lemon juice

• Combine kosher salt, fennel seed, and bay leaf in food processor and process until finely chopped • Cut the lemon lengthwise, stopping about ¾ of the way down • Make another cut perpendicular to the first cut. • Now you have a lemon that opens up and looks like a "tulip" • Open up the lemon and sprinkle a generous amount of the salt mixture inside of the lemon -Repeat with remaining lemons and fit them tightly into a clean jar or container. • Top off the lemons with lemon juice to cover. • Cover tightly and allow to sit in the refrigerator for one month. • When ready, remove a lemon from the jar, rinse it well, and cut out the "meat". • Dice the lemon rind and proceed as in recipe. • Preserve other citrus using the same method.  

Pot of Gold Raw Vegan Spiced Carrot and Orange Soup from 24 Carrots Natural Café & Urban Juicery / Sadhana Raj Citrus from Agritopia

1/4 cup coconut milk 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/4 cup diced onion 4 cups carrot chopped 2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water till soft 1/4 tsp turmeric pinch ground clove (optional) pinch ground cumin (optional) freshly grated ginger, to taste salt & pepper, to taste optional - 1 tsp minced jalapeno (keep in mind this is raw!)

In a high powered blender- puree all of the ingredients together (shredding the carrots before hand makes this process smoother). Pour into bowls, garnish with additional cashews, chopped herbs or a splash of thick coconut cream and enjoy.

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Related Locations

Quiessence Restaurant & Wine Bar
24 Carrots

1701 E. Guadalupe
Tempe, AZ 85283


The Farm at Agritopia

10455 E. Pinnacle Peak Parkway
Scottsdale, AZ 85255


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