by Terese Allen, Food Editor
Orange juice is kind of a one-hit wonder in the kitchen, appreciated mostly for being America's drink of choice at breakfast time. But that glass of liquid sunshine we down every morning isn't just a beverage, it's an ingredient—one with a delicious talent for accenting and enhancing a range of dishes.
You've probably tasted orange juice in dessert sauces and other sweet preparations, but orange is equally welcome in savory preparations like salad dressings, marinades and barbecue sauce. To get creative with orange juice, think about how it contrasts or complements other flavors. Orange juice, for example, stands up to forceful notes like chipotle peppers and fresh ginger root. It counters the sweetness of beets and accentuates the fruitiness of olives. Its sunny flavor has an affinity for brandy and sherry, and it marries well with herbs like basil, oregano, and fennel, and with the salty flavor of soy sauce. You can, of course, pair orange juice with many kinds of fruits, but it has a special thing for strawberries, mangoes, coconuts, and blueberries.
Once you start playing with ideas, all kinds of rewarding combinations will happen. Consider replacing some of the oil in a salad dressing with orange juice, then accent the greens with pecans—notice how well that spunky citrus works with roasted nuts? Try simmering carrot coins in just enough orange juice to cover; when the carrots are half-tender, raise the heat, reduce the juice and stir in a little butter. You can see—and taste—the blending of color and sweetness. Or splash a fresh fruit salad with orange juice and perfume it with a few drops of vanilla extract—suddenly an everyday dish is out-and-out exotic.
So next time you bring out the juice glasses, pull out the measuring cups, too. We hope these recipes will get you thinking about orange juice in a whole new way.
Sesame Orange Wild Rice Salad with Chicken and Dried Cherries
The trick to infusing orange juice's bright flavor into wild rice is to combine the two when the rice is still warm, so that the grains soak up the liquid.
Napa Cabbage Slaw with Caribbean Citrus Dressing
Made with a spunky citrus dressing and strips of Napa cabbage, spinach and radicchio, this is a simple salad that's striking to the eye and palate.
Wild-caught Alaskan Salmon with Pineapple Orange Sauce
A whole salmon fillet is a thing of beauty, especially as it bathes in a brilliant, vitamin-rich marinade of orange juice and pineapple puree.
Orange Almond Chicken
Organic citrus family matriarch Barbara Roper contributed this cheerful combination of chicken, almonds, and orange juice. The juice keeps the meat moist and tender, while freshly grated ginger root adds a "little spicy twang" to the dish.
Orange-Marinated Rib Eye Steaks
Easy enough for everyday, but outstanding enough for any occasion from New Year's to Father's Day.
An orange-kissed recipe from the Roper family of Windemere, Florida.
Blueberry Orange Cobbler "Pie"
Orange juice spikes the filling and tints the topping in this easier-than-pie cobbler.
Meet Bert Roper - fourth generation orange grower and founding farmer of Organic Valley's orange juice co-op.