It’s the time of year for great in-season citrus. We’re going to focus on oranges, lemons, limes and their derivatives. Citrus adds a freshness and lushness to dishes; you may use them in both sweet or savory dishes with equal success. With such vibrant, gorgeous colors and great flavor, they are oh, so versatile.In the above picture, there is an orange, a clementine, a lime and 2 Meyer lemons, (no blood oranges, because they aren’t in the supermarket in my area yet). The Meyer lemons are the shinier, smooth skinned yellow fruit. Meyer lemons have a higher juice content, are slightly sweeter with a very pleasant slight musky aftertaste. Very yummy and are excellent with fish and lamb. In the picture you will notice there are some herbs–sage, rosemary and thyme, actually lemon thyme to be specific…very thematic. I’ve included these 3 herbs because they are particularly good with citrus and citrus is particularly good with them. Funny how that works, isn’t it?
When you purchase citrus for juice, the smoother the skin the more juice they seem to have. They should also feel heavy for their size. I store them at room temperature if I’m going to use them within a few days, but the fridge crisper drawer will keep them for a couple of weeks. Remove them from the plastic supermarket bags before storing. Wash well before using the zest, but you should also wash them well to remove any nasty stuff even when you are using them for juice. To maximize the juice release, pop a piece of citrus in the microwave and zap them for 15-20 seconds. Be careful, the juice may be hot! Don’t for that you can use both the pulp and the zest or rind, but avoid the bitter white pith.
This recipe uses the best versions of citrus and is very simple to prepare and presents in a rustic, elegant way. Serve is with some good bread.
Slow-Roasted Salmon with Citrus
- 1 Meyer or regular lemon, very thinly sliced, seeds removed
- 1 blood or navel orange, very thinly sliced, seeds removed
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh fennel fronds*
- Kosher salt
- Crushed pink peppercorns
- 1 2-pound skinless salmon fillet, preferably center-cut
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon) to finish
*Omit the fennel rather than using fennel seeds, but you may use dillweed if you prefer.
Preheat oven to 275°F (you are reading that correctly)!. Toss orange and lemon slices, Aleppo pepper flakes, and fennel fronds in a shallow 3-qt. baking dish; season with kosher salt and the crushed pink peppercorns. Season salmon with kosher salt; place atop citrus mixture. Pour the oil over.
Roast until salmon is just cooked through (the tip of a knife will slide through easily and flesh will be slightly opaque), 30–40 minutes for medium-rare.
Transfer salmon to a warm platter. Don’t try to move it in one piece, just break it into large pieces as you go; there’s no pretty way to do this, but a large spoon works well. Spoon the citrus mixture and oil from baking dish over. Season with sea salt and garnish with additional fennel fronds.
Slow-Roasted Salmon with Citrus Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2015. All rights reserved.
Slow-roasted salmon is wonderful; it has a very sensuous, silky mouth-feel. It is wonderfully moist, there’s almost a creaminess to it. You almost need a cigarette, don’t you? Anyway, do use the Meyer lemons and blood oranges if available, but it’s still terrific with regular oranges and lemons.
Most citrus, though the actual origin is unknown, is thought to come from Asia. Oranges and lemons are a very prevalent flavor in Middle Eastern, North African and Spanish and Portuguese cuisines. Limes are used extensively in Indian cuisine. Citrus fruit came to Spain, Portugal and southern Italy with the Moors in the early 8th century, and I would imagine the Moors probably were introduced to citrus in their trading with the Far East. Columbus brought them to the New World, and trees were planted in Florida.
Citrus fruit is an integral part of Latin American cooking, particularly limes, oranges, blood oranges and sour oranges. In my opinion, we don’t use limes enough in this country. The next time you’re going to reach for a lemon to flavor fish, for example, try a lime. It’s wonderful with salmon, hence the recipe. I forgot to take a photo the last time I made this, so next time I’ll take one and update the blog with it.
The Aleppo pepper is a great little pepper. It’s Syrian in origin. It has fruity and floral back-flavors, is not too hot and it mixes perfectly with citrus. I use it on everything. It is gorgeous added to mashed potatoes. It is available from The Spice Mill.