Citrus fruits for foodies and food lovers – oranges, grapefruit and clementines

Colourful citrus fruits from the Mediterranean have swamped markets and supermarkets much to everybody’s delight. We can hardly resist them when they’re fresh and let alone when they’re used as an ingredient in all kinds of dishes ranging from desserts to delicious meat or fish specialties.

Image author: Thinkstock

Aside from being a common fruit in gardens across southern Croatia, oranges are mentioned in numerous cookbooks. In addition to orange jams and marmalades, our grandmothers used to prepare candied orange zest, which was the principal sweet during winter back in the day. Grated orange zest and juice are commonly used when preparing traditional cakes. Having said that, you have the well-known orange and chocolate cake, different kinds of Gugelhupf and sweet breads with almond flour and orange.

Unlike oranges, grapefruit and clementines are more contemporary fruit varieties that haven’t managed to fully find their way to menus. However, they’re becoming an increasingly popular everyday food item and imaginative ideas are taking their rightful place on winter plates. Grapefruit slices go great with winter salads in which you can add red chicory, rucola, lamb lettuce and more pungent aged cheeses with cooked or grilled chicken.  We recommend you have a go at preparing risotto with scallops and grapefruit slices. If you’re more in the mood for a continental rendition, be sure to prepare pork marinated in grapefruit juice, brown sugar and hot peppers. The scent of this roast in your home will conjure up the holiday season.

Sweet clementines a hybrid between a mandarin and an orange so their shape and size resemble a mandarin, whereas their sweet refreshing taste possesses the orange’s best qualities.

We’ve checked out what chefs and restaurants have come up with and concluded the restaurants in the Dubrovnik region are the most imaginative when it comes to preparing these three lovely citrus fruits. Jadran Tutavac, head chef at restaurant Pantarul, seasonally adjusts the menu and autumn/winter specialties have already been included in the menu. Co-owner Ana - Marija Bujić told us more about their specialties.

We often use citrus fruits to prepare our dishes and currently we have two quite interesting specialties on offer. We prepare roasted trout fillet in olive oil and then served with a side dish consisting of sautéed kohlrabi, chick pea and carrot with bitter orange sauce. Guests can also relish poached sea bream served in an olive oil and orange emulsion with Julienne vegetables.

In restaurant Horizont located at the historic core of Dubrovnik you can have a taste of their delicacies. Restaurant manager Vedran Lončarić walked us through their current offer.

When it comes to citrus fruits, our menu includes the roasted boneless chicken thigh with roasted new potatoes and bitter orange sauce. The sauce contains orange chunks and juice and it’s cooked with lemon and sugar until it thickens. We also prepare beef carpaccio with citrus fruit sections. We always use lemon and grapefruit. Fresh beef carpaccio is served with thinly chopped fruit, grapefruit and lemon juice.

In addition to phenomenal seafood specialties, Dubrovnik-based restaurant Nautika also prepares delicious citrus fruit desserts with one particular dessert being a true standout. Željko Zovko, the restaurant’s marketing manager, told us more about it.

Guests usually order our orange cake during the autumn and winter. First you have to prepare the orange sponge cake. When it’s done, you sprinkle it a bit more with orange juice. You make a caramelised sugar and almond slices croquant specially on the side. Jelly made from prosecco produced by winery Hektorović is without a doubt the thing that makes this recipe so special. First you simmer the prosecco until the alcohol evaporates and then you add agar in the end. The cake is placed on a place together with the croquant and prosecco jelly.