There’s something almost prehistoric
about the way blood oranges look.
I love the look of blood oranges. They taste amazing of course, but there’s something almost prehistoric about the way they look. All our rules around visual appearance tell us they shouldn’t really be this weirdo combination of red and orange. But they are. And they’re beautiful. The Orange is strong and solid, but a stubborn Redness leaches into it. Besmirching. Blemishing. They’re like a little Buddhist lesson in just being what you are, accepting the good and the bad and hoping you end up looking as exquisite as a just-sliced blood orange.
Like the glorious quince, I can never resist them when it’s their season. They’re terrific with fish or in a salad. They transform a flourless orange cake into something magical. And blood orange curd is just about the sexiest thing to come out of a jar. But it’s as a garnish that they really shimmy and sparkle. Sliced thinly then dried in a very low oven for a very long time, their colour intensifies and they become glass-like, transparent; reminiscent of the stained glass windows in an old Italian church.
A word of warning. Don’t be tempted to boost the heat in order to quicken the process – they catch very quickly. Also, watch them on their final half hour as they can so easily push into the other side of dried and become charred inedible frizby discs. An extra 20 minutes in the bath and I paid the price with my first batch smoldering away (see pic above!)
- 6 Blood Oranges
- Slice the blood oranges as thinly as you dare, taking care to keep the slice intact
- Place in a single layer on a baking rack over a foil covered baking tray
- Pop in a super-low oven (around 80 degrees) for about four hours. Don't be tempted to increase heat or you know what will happen!
- This is much easier and much better with a sharp mandolin!