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Tangerine, celery and blue cheese salad

Rachel Dreskin is a Brooklyn gal with a passion for seasonal eating, local wine and vintage fashions. She makes regular visits to her local green markets and is constantly in the kitchen experimenting. You can find her favorite tips and ...

In season now: Tangerines

I love root vegetables just as much as the next veggie-loving fanatic. But when we find ourselves smack in the middle of winter, I start looking for something bright, sweet and juicy.
Tangerines on plates

Thank goodness citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruit and tangerines, are in season in Florida and California right now -- just in time to rescue us from those winter blues.

Tangerines are at their seasonal and nutritional best from November through April. They are a good source of vitamins A and C, which help improve our immune systems and can jazz up a variety of dishes. Or just stick a few in your bag before you head out in the morning. Their conveniently small size and natural protective rind makes them the perfect portable fruit.

In addition to being smaller than oranges, they are also generally sweeter and easier to peel. So stock up and make this seasonal citrus fruit your mid-afternoon pick-me-up snack. It has enough sweetness to brighten you mood -- and just enough nutrients and fiber to prevent you from crashing afterwards.

What to look for in tangerines

Look for tangerines that are firm feeling and heavy for their size, as that indicates a juicier fruit. They should be bright orange in color and without any deep grooves. Skip over any that are soft or cracked.

How to store tangerines

Store tangerines loose in a bowl or basket in a cool place that does not get any direct sunlight. Stored this way they should last two to three days. Alternatively, you can store them in the refrigerator. This will very slightly negatively affect their taste, but will increase their shelf life to up to a week.

How to use tangerines

Beyond being the perfect pocket fruit, tangerines can be used in many different dishes and recipes including:

Juiced: Juice on their own or in combination with other citrus juices for a nutritious and energizing morning drink.

Chutney: Simmer tangerine segments, fresh cranberries and diced apples with sugar, water, cider vinegar and all-spice until softened. Serve over Brie cheese or as an accompaniment to roast turkey or pork.

Sauces: Sweat a minced shallot in butter and add in tangerine juice, a squeeze of lemon juice and some grated ginger. Reduce until slightly thickened and serve over a mild white fish such as tilapia or cod.

Salads: Use tangerines in place of oranges for a sweet and colorful addition to your salads. Try combining them with salty and crunchy ingredients, like in this tangerine, celery and blue cheese salad, for a texturally and tastefully balanced side dish.

Tangerine, celery and blue cheese salad recipe

The crunchy, sweet and savory pair perfectly in this fresh cold weather salad.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 head Boston bibb lettuce, washed and chopped
  • 2 tangerines, peeled and segmented
  • 2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced thinly on a bias
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine red wine vinegar and mustard in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper
  2. Toss lettuce, tangerines, blue cheese and celery in with the dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.

More fun ways to incorporate citrus into your winter cooking

Fennel and tangerine salad
Brussels sprouts with pancetta and orange
Raw kale and grapefruit salad

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