Every winter, my friend Troy gives my family a jar of his homemade Seville orange marmalade. A tawny jelly packed with shreds of candied peel, it’s less syrupy than the store-bought version, with a brighter snap and a deeper fruitiness. I think it rounds out one of the best breakfasts there is. Slathered onto a piece of hot, buttered toast, it makes the perfect, bittersweet sop for salty egg yolk.
When I saw Seville oranges at the market recently, my husband and I decided to try simmering up a batch ourselves. Troy kindly gave us his recipe, based on one from the cookbook author Nigel Slater, although with less sugar. After many hours of peeling, slicing, simmering and skimming, we ended up with six glistening jars. I see marmalade cake in our future, not to mention myriad happy breakfasts!
You know what else I see in our future? A dinner of Yewande Komolafe’s juicy, peppery, pan-seared harissa chicken (above). Filled with caramelized dates, along with navel oranges and limes, it’s a recipe that, like homemade marmalade, puts the season’s best citrus to use. If you like, you could lemon it up even more and pair it with Jill Santopietro’s braised fennel with Meyer lemon and Parmesan or Ali Slagle’s baked rice with white beans, leeks and lemon.
Citrus is one way to add verve to a dish; spices are another. In Nargisse Benkabbou’s simple yet complex one-pot chorba, lamb and chickpeas are simmered into a brothy soup with loads of turmeric and saffron. It’s a hearty meal often eaten during Ramadan to break the fast. Turmeric also stars in Naz Deravian’s garlicky baghali ghatogh, an herbed, Iranian, fava bean stew, in which lima or cannellini beans work just as well, if favas prove elusive.
And here are two more terrific new recipes to put on your radar. One of them, by Hetty McKinnon, was inspired by toasted rice dishes like Persian tahdig and Korean nurungji: Her crispy coconut and tofu rice
For dessert, you could bake Alice Waters’s lemon meringue pie, to stick with the citrus theme. Or Dorie Greenspan’s chocolate and almond tiger cake (based on those small marzipan-like cakes called financiers) is sure to soften anyone’s growl.
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“Marmalade making,” Nigel Slater writes in the recipe I followed “is about as pleasurable as cooking can get.” The rhythmic intensity of chopping and stirring, as atomized citrus oil and orangey steam billow around you, is hypnotic. So, as my husband and I set to work, we naturally put on the latest Laraaji album.
Laraaji’s ambient music “scintillates, dances and reverberates on its own long time frames,” as Jon Pareles notes in a lovely profile in The New York Times. The musician has performed since the 1980s with a frog puppet named Dr. Love, and he wears only orange — the hue, he has said, “of fire and transformation, of sunrise and sunset.” This is most definitely marmalade music.
Sam’s back on Friday, and I’ll see you on Monday.