Likely arising from the natural mutation of a Pomelo and a tangerine, blood oranges are highly sought for their distinctly deep red flesh and dynamic flavor.
When these oranges are juiced, the liquid’s color is a deep red. It is the presence of the antioxidant anthocyanin that gives blood oranges this signature color. Anthocyanin is quite common in an array of fresh fruits and vegetables but is quite rare when it comes to citrus fruits.
Native to the Mediterranean regions, blood orange thrives during the winter months, and it’s ideal for incorporating into an array of seasonal meals. Both the flesh and juice deliver a tangy-sweet flavor with notes of raspberry throughout.
Some people source blood oranges to produce flavorful and colorful marmalades, or use the juice in beverages, salad dressings and sauces. The sections can be sliced and tossed in a bitter green or spinach style salad, and the flavor makes for an ideal pairing with poultry, pork and seafood. Blood oranges can also be worked into a host of baked goods such as bars, tarts, muffins and cakes.
While there are several types of blood oranges under production, it is the Moro blood orange that is the most common, and it’s likely what you’ll encounter when purchasing at the farmers’ markets.
This week I used Moro blood oranges to make a grilled blood orange chicken recipe. Marinated in blood orange juice with herbs and spices, the flavor and color of the blood orange makes for a stunning presentation on the plate.
Grilled Blood Orange Chicken
3/4 cup blood orange juice.
1/2 cup brown sugar.
1 teaspoon dried oregano.
4 garlic cloves, minced.
2-inch piece fresh ginger, finely grated.
2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or rice vinegar).
1/4 cup ketchup.
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes.
1 teaspoon soy sauce.
1 pound chicken cuts (can do skin on or skin off, any cuts you prefer).
Whisk together all ingredients until well incorporated, then use as a marinade for the chicken. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours. Then grill until cooked through. Serve with green and a bed of rice.
Yield: Serves 4.