Sweet citrus fruits straddle salad, dessert courses

A serving of fruit has been all but a mealtime requirement in the past six years since I’ve had kids.

Fruits go down easier than vegetables, after all, and the fiber keeps kids full between meals when fruit is their snack. Plus they’re loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, in short the plethora of phytonutrients.

We can’t seem to get enough vitamin C, fortunately during the season when citrus is most abundant and delicious. My kids eat mandarin oranges and tangerines, even grapefruit, out of hand. But I also plan to incorporate plenty of citrus zest and juice into our meals this time of year.

The following recipe from Tribune News Service appeals to my preference for fruit as both salad and dessert. Orange-blossom water, which enlivens any number of dishes with a Middle Eastern flair, is more and more available in mainstream grocers and keeps for years in the refrigerator.

Consider making this with cara cara oranges, featured in this month’s Oregon Healthy Living magazine. You may need to tell people that the slices are not grapefruit, but the striking presentation comes with equally distinctive citrus flavor.

Tribune News Service photo

Moroccan Orange Salad

4 large, juicy oranges (or grapefruits or tangerines)

2 teaspoons granulated sugar or honey

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 to 3 tablespoons orange blossom water, or zest from 1 orange

6 fresh mint leaves

3 tablespoons pistachios, roughly chopped

Slice off very top and bottom of each orange, just enough to expose flesh. Remove all and pith by strips, top to bottom, using blade of your knife to cut away as little of juicy flesh as possible. Trim any small bits of pith you missed, and pour juices that collect on cutting board into a small saucepan.

Cut oranges horizontally to form thin slices, about 1/4-inch thick. Arrange in an overlapping pattern on a serving platter.

Add the sugar and cinnamon to pan. If using the orange zest instead of the orange blossom water, add it to pan, along with 2 tablespoons water. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Stir in orange blossom water, if using, and pour over orange slices. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Stack the mint leaves together, roll tightly and thinly slice crosswise. Scatter mint and the pistachios over oranges; serve.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Recipe adapted by Tribune News Service from “Tasting Paris,” by Clotilde Dusoulier.

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