My favorite way to make food look good isn't with a garnish. I like to bring eye appeal to food with the ingredients in the recipe. Hands-down, blood oranges are the coolest-looking item in the produce aisle. The flesh of blood oranges ranges in color from orange with a pink blush to mottled red and to deep burgundy. Blood oranges often have an intense orange taste, and can have some berry-like flavors as well. Nothing perks up the way your food looks more than a slice or dice of blood orange.
A simple slice of blood orange is the easiest way to add eye-appeal to almost anything. I like to peel the orange and then cut it into thin slices for blood orange martinis. For a bit more orange flavor, you can muddle the slice in the glass before adding the vodka or gin.
The red in blood oranges comes from anthocyanins, which means that they're rich in antioxidants. I've been making a conscious effort to use fruit as part of a meal, and not just for snacks or dessert. Blood and regular oranges with sliced pears and a little freshly ground black pepper combine to make an incredibly simple side dish. Minus the pepper, with some Greek yogurt, it's good for breakfast.
Other ways to incorporate blood oranges into recipes you already use:
- Add large diced pieces to cole slaw.
- Use blood orange juice instead of cranberry juice in your cosmopolitans.
- Garnish cheesecake with a segment (or diced segments) -- place on a paper towel first to blot excess moisture
- Thinly slice a blood orange and float the slices in a pitcher of regular OJ, or in iced tea.
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My favorite way to incorporate blood oranges is to make a citrus salsa. It's great with any kind of fish, and not bad with chicken. I like a blend of blood oranges, Meyer lemons, and pink grapefruit. For a little heat, I add some minced chiles; for a little cool, some fresh mint.
Slice for crimson slice nothing delivers better food bling for your buck than a blood orange.
Andy Broder is the chef/owner of AndyFood, A Culinary Studio.