Flesh and blood

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 May, 2011, 12:00am


It's easy to see how the blood orange got its name. There are a few with skin and flesh that resemble any other orange but most of them have a red flush and, when the fruit is sliced open, the flesh is vivid, juicy red.

There are several cultivars of blood oranges and they vary in sweetness, flavour and colour. They're grown in areas with a Mediterranean climate - Spain, Italy and parts of Asia, Australia and the United States. They're said to be easy to grow indoors, although the dwarf varieties are advisable.

The blood orange is quite difficult to peel because the skin clings tightly to the flesh - it's easiest to remove the peel by cutting it off. Slice off the top and bottom of the orange, cutting down just far enough to reveal the flesh. Lay the orange on one flat end and use a small serrated knife to cut off the skin and a thin layer of the flesh, following the contour of the fruit. The fruit can be supremed - hold the skinned fruit in one hand and cut out sections of the flesh by slicing between the membranes towards the core. Once all the flesh has been removed, squeeze the membrane to extract more of the juice, then discard. Blood orange supremes add dramatic contrast to a simple fennel salad. Thinly slice a raw fennel bulb and lay it on a plate. Top with blood orange supremes then drizzle with fresh lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil. Add a few small fennel fronds or dill, sprinkle with rough-flaked sea salt (such as Maldon), then serve.