This week’s inspiration came from an unlikely place…the bottom drawer of our home refrigerator. You know those adorable little clementine oranges that you purchase in big quantities in the netted bag? We love to buy those, eat about 3 and then forget about them. Weeks later there they sit, too cute to throw out, too mushy to eat, just taking up space. So the question is: “What can you do with over-the-hill mini oranges?”
The answer came when we were discussing making dried porcini mushroom “dust” to coat lamb chops. What if we dried the clementine peels in the oven, pulverized the peels and used them as a dry rub? As fate would have it, we came across a Bon Appetite article about dehydrated fruit peel and vegetable “powders”…we knew we had to try it with those aged little clementines. Maybe something amazing would happen.
Bingo! We peeled (easily) all the old clementines, juiced all the oranges (for smoothies), and spread the misshapen peels on a parchment paper lined baking sheet with sides. The peels took about 3 hours to dry completely in a 200 degree convection oven. They must be very dry and brittle as any remaining moisture would prevent them from being ground into a powder. This will vary depending on your oven and the thickness of the peels. They should “crack” when you break one in half.
The aroma in your house will be insane.
The equipment you need to finish the job is a cheapy coffee grinder. We had an old one from years ago, but you can pick one up in the $$teens at any store. We ground about a quarter of the peels so that we could play around with recipes. The rest of the peels are happily stored in a zip lock bag at room temperature until needed. The resulting orange powder is fragrant, bright, and mellow with just a hint of bitter citrus. Now that we have this lovely orange ingredient…what should we make?
We got it on the first try. We toasted some fennel and cumin seed with a few black peppercorns in a small skillet. We popped the spices with the orange peels in the grinder with a little sea salt to make a dry rub for shrimp. We serve it here with Saffron Rice Pilaf and Black Beans for a light, gorgeous dinner.
Orange Garlic Shrimp Recipe for 4
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon fennel seed
4 black peppercorns
2 Tablespoons (roughly) dried orange or clementine peel
1 teaspoon sea salt
2lbs raw shrimp, peeled but tail on gives the best flavor
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
If you feel like heat, add a generous pinch of red chili flake with the garlic (we like it!)
In a small skillet, toast the cumin seed, fennel seed, and peppercorns over medium heat for just a few minutes until fragrant and just starting to smoke. Let the spices cool a bit. Add them to the spice blender with a generous few tablespoons of the dried clementine peel and the sea salt. Blend until a fine powder forms.
Toss the spice powder with the shrimp and allow it to rest for at least 20 minutes. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is shimmering and hot, add the shrimp and toss to coat with the oil. The shrimp will cook quickly; once you have tossed the shrimp in the hot oil, add the garlic and parsley and toss until well mixed. Cook for 3-5 minutes until shrimp is opaque and cooked through. At this point you have options. You can serve this as a sizzling hot appetizer with cocktail forks or serve the shrimp with the side of your choice. We simply prepared basmati rice with a pinch of saffron, salt and pepper and black beans cooked up with a little garlic, chopped onion and a healthy pinch of chili powder, salt and pepper. Remember to always taste your food for salt and pepper before serving.
Other uses for your Clementine Orange Powder:
• Use to season any roasted chicken, pork or fish before cooking
• Use to add flavor to roasted root vegetables, sprinkle liberally!
• Great addition to any soups made with pumpkin or squash
• Add to the cinnamon filling of homemade cinnamon rolls
• Sprinkle liberally on oatmeal in the morning and top with almonds
• Add liberally to cookie or muffin batter
• Add a teaspoon to your favorite smoothie
• Sprinkle on Popcorn with sea salt-not kidding, it’s delish!
Enjoy some play time in your kitchen at home! Have a great week, Love from the Starky’s Test Kitchen