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Citrus Savvy: 5 New Tricks for Familiar Fruits

Maybe you've made limeade, put mandarin oranges in a salad, or whipped up lemon-pepper chicken. You might even have used grapefruit in a vinaigrette, if you were feeling fancy. Original in their own time, these ideas have been around awhile for good reason, they’re simple and tasty. In that spirit, here are some suggestions for fun, easy new ways to use citrus fruit:

Thai on a lime

Sometimes an appetizer is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Try this quick snack to ward off the after-work munchies. Place each ingredient into separate small bowls or custard cups: a couple handfuls of roasted, salted peanuts; a piece of candied ginger, chopped into smaller bits; and a few very thin slices of lime cut into small wedges—about 10-12 wedges per slice, peel and all (since you eat the peel, we recommend choosing organic limes). Grab several peanuts, a little candied ginger and a lime wedge and pop them into your mouth for a flavor sensation inspired by the culinary traditions of Southeast Asia. Try it as an appetizer for a spicy Thai meal.

Orange you fancy?

Orange Mediterranean SaladYou’re making dinner for your friends, you're short on time and you realize you really should have one more dish. No problem! Peel a few oranges with a paring knife, cutting off the white layer of the orange peel, cut the orange in half across the wedges, then cut into 1/4-inch slices and spread on a platter. Scatter some very thinly sliced red onion rings on top along with a handful of whole or sliced kalamata olives. Top with a swirl or two of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of salt and red pepper flakes. This simple-to-prepare Mediterranean salad looks and tastes gourmet.

The grapest-fruit of all

Not your grandparent’s grapefruit, nor the bitter power breakfast fruit of choice in the 1980s. No, today’s grapefruit is the greatest grapefruit to date: broiled grapefruit! Slice your grapefruit in half (horizontally, not stem to end) and sprinkle the cut side with a teaspoon of dark brown sugar and a pinch of cinnamon (if you like), then put under the broiler for 4 minutes until top is caramelized and warm, and serve! A dollop of crème fraiche makes it dessert worthy, whereas a dollop of plain Greek yogurt justifies breakfast status. It’s so good to be living in the now, isn’t it?

A zested development

Did you know that the secret behind such citrus-flavored favorites as lemon ricotta pancakes, key lime pie and lemon parmesan pasta all comes down to one word: zest? Learning to zest your citrus is an easy way to boost flavors naturally in a variety of foods. For instant tropical flair, combine tangerine zest and shredded coconut in a tasty quick bread or muffins. Invest in a simple, inexpensive zester to make the process safe and easy, then consider zesting all your citrus and freezing the zest for future use – it will keep in the freezer in an airtight plastic bag for months, ensuring the “zest” is yet to come!

Major mojo (or, it’s all coming up Cuba)

Have you noticed the success of the Cubano sandwich and the Mojito cocktail? Cuban food is where it’s at. In the spirit of this revelation, meet your new favorite condiment: mojo sauce. Blend equal parts orange and lime juice with olive oil, plenty of fresh garlic and a pinch each of cumin, salt and pepper. Serve with roasted potatoes, fried plantains, beans and rice, pork, beef, chicken, shrimp, veggies, shoe leather, houseplants, you get the idea!