Monday, February 07, 2005

Seville Orange Marmalade/Blood Orange Marmalade

Last Sunday Michelle made a trip to Jean-Talon market in search of citrus, and she came back with blood oranges, Seville oranges, and Key limes. The first week of February 2005 rapidly turned into Citrus Week 2005 as a result. I'll let her tell you all about it later.



Sadly, Alan Davidson (who wrote The Penguin Companion to Food, Mediterranean Seafood, and a host of other classics of food literature) passed away a little over a year ago. One of my Christmas gifts from Anthony was a book of his called A Kipper With My Tea which features a charming and rather hilarious article on making marmalade; as a result, I thought cooking up a batch of Alan's marmalade might make a fitting, and particularly seasonal, tribute. Our local grocery was carrying Seville oranges last week for much cheaper than Chez Louis at the Jean Talon market. I had about 12 to work with, plus, as he recommended, a grapefruit and a lemon. His method? Simple.

Take 2 pounds of Seville oranges, 1 grapefruit, and 1 lemon and quarter them. Place them in a pot with enough water to cover. Simmer, covered, about an hour. Cut the quartered fruit pell mell with some scissors or a knife. Add more than 2 pounds of sugar, and I would add much more, like almost 3 or more... Stir and let simmer until it reaches the jelly stage. Let it sit for 5 min. off the heat and pour into clean jars. No muslin bags, no juicing, zesting or straining. Just boil and jar.

I found the taste to be excellent, if you appreciate a marmalade with real character. If not, you may want to increase the sugar to 3 or 4 lbs. Anthony said this was right on the line for him: not too much of that bitterness characteristic of marmalade, but almost. I told him about Alan Davidson's closing advice with regards to marmalade. He suggests making the flavour so sharp most people will decline seconds. Those who love it, however, will love it so much that "they will be doubly grateful if given half the amount...", leaving plenty for the cook to enjoy.


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