Taking Pleasure in Simple Tasks.

In my years as a professional cook I have gained the skill and confidence that is required to produce accurate results on a more intricate and technically challenging level. But each winter I look forward to working with one of my personal favorite ingredients, the blood orange, and the opportunity it allows me to perform my all time favorite simple task; supreming (or segmenting) citrus fruit.

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This was one of the first knife cutting skills I learned in culinary school.  I liked it so much I would go to the store to get oranges to practice with, and it became a fun and cheap way to work on some knife cuts at home.

I find the job is easiest with a sharp and slender knife. Cut the top and bottom of the orange off and start cutting the rind away from the fruit.  One of the keys to a perfect supreme is getting all of the pith removed with out wasting the fruit.

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In the top picture you can see how you start to follow the “white line”of the pith to help guide you as you cut. I find that if you set the orange away from yourself at an angle you can see where your knife is going much easier. The bottom picture is of the orange completely peeled.

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Next you want to cut out each segment of the orange. Start by cutting on the inside of the little membrane that holds the segment in place, once again using the natural “white line” as your guide. Cut on each side and release the segments one at a time working your way around the fruit. Once you are all done place your orange segments into a small dish (tupperware, bowl, etc) and squeeze the orange (not the segments) to get the juice. You can use the segments in any number of ways. Easy ones come in the form of salads, or added to a fruit tart, or even arranged simply on a plate to have for breakfast.

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The zest from the left over rind can also be used in a few different ways. It can be candied or dried and powdered to add to salt or sugar. If you don’t feel like eating it, it can also just be dried and put on a fire at night which will release a beautiful show of colors; something my parents would do when I was young, a cherished memory indeed.

I hope you try out supreming a blood orange this year. It is one of the simplest pleasures of cooking that I know.

-Nick