Perk up your palate with fragrant fruits


Nikki Headshot - Photo by Andrea HunterAfter weeks of heavy holiday meals, it’s time to lighten the load. What better way to brighten the kitchen and your spirits than with sunny citrus fruits? Citrus fruits offer great nutritional value, are inexpensive, and keep for several days at room temperature. From salads to seafood dishes, the options are endless. Between December and April, citrus is at its peak with grapefruit, kumquats, lemons, limes, and oranges in abundance. Look for sweetly fragrant, shiny fruit that is heavy for its size.

To prepare segments from all citrus fruits,

  • Cut the peel off the top and bottom of the fruit, removing all pith. Stand the fruit on a cutting board and cut the peel and pith off the sides, working from top to bottom in neat slices.
  • Hold the fruit in one hand over a bowl to catch the juice and cut between the membranes to remove the segments.

Print Recipe
Cinnamon Toast with Roasted Grapefruit


  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 8 Tbsp butter melted
  • 8 thick slices of white bread
  • 3 grapefruits peeled, pith removed, and separated into segments


  1. Set oven to 400°F. Combine sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl, melted butter in another. Have a sheet pan ready to use. Dip one slice of bread in the melted butter, and then coat both sides with the sugar and spice mix. Place on a sheet pan. Repeat with remaining bread slices.
  2. Bake bread until it begins to crisp, about 15 minutes. Then flip the bread and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven and preheat the broiler.
  3. Place the grapefruit segments in a baking dish and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of spice mixture. Under the broiler, warm the grapefruit about 3 minutes.
  4. To serve, place two pieces of toast on a plate and top with a spoonful of roasted grapefruit. A fresh sprig of mint to finish adds to the presentation.

Print Recipe
Orange and Avocado Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette


  • Salad
  • 1 avocado peeled and sliced
  • 2 blood oranges peeled, pith removed, and segmented (Clementine or naval will substitute)
  • 2 heads romaine roughly chopped
  • 3 heads arugula or Bibb lettuce, roughly chopped (any leafy green will work)
  • ¼ cup red onion sliced
  • ¼ cup goat cheese
  • Dressing
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 2-3 limes)
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cilantro chopped, stems removed


  1. In a blender or food processor, combine lime juice, vinegar, garlic, salt, and sugar. Blend until combined. With the blender running, slowly add vegetable oil. Add cilantro. Keep dressing in a glass jar in refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  1. In a large salad bowl, combine chopped lettuce greens, avocado, red onion, and goat cheese. Drizzle with 1–2 tablespoons cilantro lime vinaigrette and gently toss. Finish with fresh ground black pepper.

Print Recipe
Kumquats tend to be sour, so cooking them in a sugar syrup sweetens them and tenderizes the tough rind. The chamomile tea helps cut the acid as well.


  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 10 kumquats stemmed, quartered, and seeded
  • 1 teabag of chamomile tea


  1. Combine the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add ½ cup water, the kumquats, and chamomile tea bag and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer until the kumquats are translucent and the liquid is syrupy, about 45 minutes. Remove and discard the tea bag. Serve warm over ice cream or add black pepper and savory spices to top off pork tenderloin. Makes about 2 cups.

Print Recipe


  • 4 filets salmon 8-oz each, pin bones removed
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 Meyer lemons sliced thin
  • 4 sprigs fresh dill
  • ¼ cup shallots minced
  • 4 large pieces parchment paper


  1. Heat oven to 375°F. In a sauté pan, cook shallots until transparent, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup dry white wine and reduce by half. Remove from heat.
  2. Arrange six 16-by-12 ½ sheets of parchment paper on a work surface. Place a salmon fillet in the center of each sheet. Drizzle with 1 tbsp of wine and shallot mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer over the fish. Finish with a sprig of dill. Bring up the 2 opposite sides of the parchment over the fish to seal.
  3. Arrange the papillotes on a baking sheet and place in oven. Bake until parchment packets are slightly puffed and browned, about 18 minutes. Transfer to plates. Cut open the packets, carefully, to release the steam.

By Nikki Elkjer

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