No matter how determined UK-based chefs are in sourcing their ingredients locally, it's unlikely that they will come up trumps when it comes to citrus fruits.
The versatility of citrus fruits knows no bounds, as this new book from Catherine Phipps, contributor to The Guardian and BBC Radio 4's The Food Programme demonstrates. Not only do the variety and complexity of flavours imparted by citrus fruits introduce a distinct flavour, they also enhance the blandest of recipes, as well as tenderising fish and meat and transforming milk into cheese and yogurt. And they are packed full of vitamin C and antioxidants. What kitchen could survive without them?
In the book, the introduction highlights that beyond the ubiquitous oranges and lemons, lesser-known bergamots, pomelos, ugli fruits, yuzus, kumquats and limequats should be sought out for a pop of unusual flavour.
The recipes are a straightforward collection of soups, small plates, salads, mains, sides and desserts that could provide zing for many a menu. A burrata and freekeh salad, for instance, is enhanced by the addition of blood orange and bergamot; while lamb meatballs with broad beans and chard enjoys two hits of citrus - from lemons and preserved lemons - providing freshness and sourness respectively.
Phipps shows that citrus fruits can be the perfect partner for poultry dishes, highlighted in the delicate flavours of a chicken poached with lemon and sorrel or the punch packed by a spicy Seville orange accompaniment to duck.
And, of course, the usefulness of citrus fruits in desserts is endless, whether it be an elegant, palate-cleansing gin and bitter grapefruit granite or a comforting rum and orange bread and butter pudding.
By Janet Harmer
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