I think this may be the last time I rhapsodize about citrus...this season. I went a bit mad at the organic co-op when I saw all the blood oranges: I greedily palmed all the carmine citrus I could. The languidly sweet Taroccos and the full-blooded Sanguinellos tumbled willy-nilly into my basket. Then at the farmer's market I went and did it again. Because here's the thing: this means we're that much closer...to patio season, here on the bright blue cusp of the Mediterannean.
Bring on the asparagus.
In the meantime, I made my butcher tut-tut over my exotic tastes when I described a blood orange marinade (with rum! and garlic! and rosemary!) I planned to use on pork loin. But my, oh, my. It resulted in a beautifully succulent, aromatic dish that provoked spontaneous sighs of delight, mon cher Jean-Louis. The ruby fruit also made a scintillating appearance in a Sicilian salad, paired with fennel, which, while highly refreshing, seemed a smidgen premature given the lingering snow outside. Kind of like that halter-top red sun-dress that can still only be worn indoors. With a woolen scarf.
Then it was on to blood orange curd. Yes, I did go there. So decadent and rich in just the pucker-worthy, complex dessert-y place your mouth needs to be every so often. I put the curd in a pie. Which I then covered with a heap of glowing sections of fruit. This was a resounding success, and I'm not too shy to cop to it. Took time to pull together (with a necessary addition of cornstarch). I'm not complaining, mind you: sometimes really good things take time.And sometimes they don't. Case in point, the recipe below, shown above. A ravishing way to be an adult and have your Jell-o too. A turn of the wrist, a few hours' wait, and you're there. (Original recipe courtesy Deborah Madison, via Gourmet magazine).
Gelée d'Orange Sanguine (Blood Orange Jelly with Whipped Cream au Grand Marnier)
1 (1/4 ounce) envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup water
2 cups strained fresh blood orange juice (from perhaps 10-12 oranges)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon orange flower water, optional
1 cup cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons Grand Marnier orange liqueur (taste to decide)
Sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the water in a mixing bowl. Allow to time for water to be absorbed and gelatin to soften. Meanwhile, bring a half-cup cup of juice to a bubbly simmer, add sugar and a pinch of salt, then add to gelatin mixture. Stir until all sugar and gelatin are completely dissolved, then add remaining juice and orange flower water if desired. Pour into small custard cups and refrigerate for at least five hours.
Just before starting the meal, whip the cream in a cold bowl, adding sugar and Grand Marnier. Serve a generous spoonful alongside the unmolded jelly.