To keep enjoying that mandarin flavor for months, I dry the peels. Peel off any stickers, scrape away any excess white pith from the peel – with thin-skinned mandarins I don’t bother – and lay the peels in a single layer on a cooling rack. Let them dry for several days. If you live someplace extra humid (ahem, Seattle) you can throw the peels into a dehydrator or toss them into a very low oven. When the peels are shatteringly crisp, they’re done!
Once dry, the peels can be kept in hunks or ground. Grind batches of dried peels in a food processor – I can’t imagine any other way to get the job done – and be prepared for a bit of noise. Larger pieces can be added directly to braises, soups or broths, or dropped into the cooking liquid for rice, beans or other grains. Used judiciously they add a nice background flavor without overpowering.
|Add orange peel and broth to subtly flavor rice.|
Orange pairs well with many herbs. Rosemary is a fantastic flavor-companion, and any cooking situation in which you’d add rosemary you can probably throw a little dried mandarin peel in as well.
Orange-rosemary braised lamb shanks are fantastic in the dark days of winter, a loaf of whole wheat rosemary-orange no-knead bread would be killer, or whip up an orange-rosemary spice rub to enhance just about anything – game, poultry, pork, mushrooms, sweet potatoes or squash would all be excellent flavored this way.
|Boar Tenderloin with Rosemary-Mandarin Orange Spice Rub|
|In the pan|
|On the plate|
|Sockeye Salmon with Rosemary-Mandarin Orange Spice Rub|
|When you add fish to a hot pan, press gently to ensure the entire surface of the fish gets nicely caramelized.|
|Flip once (only once!) and finish cooking skin-side down.|
|Served here with chanterelles, cooked in the same pan and also seasoned with Rosemary-Mandarin Orange Spice Rub.|
This is just like the rosemary salt from back in March, but with mandarin peel. To make a fennel rub, just substitute 1/4 cup sweet fennel seeds for the rosemary. Chefs are into iteration. We love adaptable!
- 2, 5″ long sprigs fresh or dried rosemary, stripped from the stem
- 3-4 large pieces dried mandarin orange peel
- 1/4 cup kosher or coarse sea salt (it will be fine ground by the time you are through with it)
- 1-2 tbsp. whole black peppercorns, to taste
|Just throw it all in there. It’ll be fine.|
|Still way too chunky, but maybe nice for a potpourri?|
|Perfect! Use for sprinkling on anything that needs fantastic flavor.|
Endless options – what do you do with your citrus peels?34