Citrus Fruit Ideas to Brighten the Winter Blues

citrus caprese

It’s the beginning of a new year and as I look forward to spring I must admit one of the things I do like about winter is all the beautiful citrus that is available. Maybe it’s the way it makes you feel after over indulging during the holidays, it’s fresh, bright and very healthy for you, and who doesn’t need a good dose of vitamin C during these cold winter days.citrus

Every time I go food shopping I fill my cart with orange citrus, my three favorite varieties are navel, Cara Cara and blood oranges, each have a unique and special flavor on their own and I love to mingle them together.citrus caprese

While I patiently wait for my summer tomato caprese salad, this winter caprese has become my cold weather favorite.

You don’t need a recipe, just layer your favorite sliced oranges with fresh mozzarella, just like you would a tomato caprese. Lay it all on a bed of arugula with an optional sliced red onion ring in between.

 

The dressing is simply fresh squeezed orange citrus juice that is whisked with good olive oil, ( you could add a little white balsamic or champagne vinegar to the mix if you wish) the bitterness of the arugula against the sweetness of the orange and the creaminess of the fresh mozzarella is the perfect combination, especially when the dressing mingles all over it.citrus slicescitrus and fennelcitrus salad

I’ve been making a few other citrus salads as well, one has sliced oranges with fennel, red onion, creamy avocado, a little bit of arugula and toasted hazelnuts.

 

The other one is a huge bunch of arugula, orange slices and toasted hazelnuts, I love the bitter with the sweet. Both are simple to put together and they compliment any protein you might be eating, I especially love it with fish and seafood.citrus with crab cakes

On New Years Day I made this salad along with crab cakes, they complimented each other perfectly with the richness of the crab and the brightness of the citrus.citrus salsa

Citrus in the form of salsa is outrageously good, make it like you would any other salsa only with various varieties of orange segments, chopped jalapeno, cilantro or parsley, red onion and a drizzle of olive oil.

citrus salsa

The salsa’s are wonderful to top off scallops, shrimp, salmon, whitefish, basically any fish, plus it’s light and healthy something we all need after the holidays.citrus with cod

Here’s a one pan meal that is so delicious and it will surely brighten a cold winter day, my baked cod with blood orange, fennel and olives.
citrus with cod

Citrus fruits are not only refreshing they actually make you feel better, there must be a reason why these sunny fruits are available during the darkest time of the year. How many more days til spring?

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Pistachio Crusted Scallops with Winter Citrus Salsa

pistachio crusted scallops

I’ve been craving citrus lately, maybe it’s because January is such a cold and gloomy month and all that colorful citrus just brightens my day, I don’t know but I’m sure loving all the different varieties that are available right now. I recently made this salsa using my favorite cara cara, blood and navel oranges, the vibrant flavors pair wonderfully with sweet and buttery sea scallops, it was the perfect match, but if you’re not a fan  of scallops I’m sure any firm white fish would work just as well.

The scallops are crusted with finely chopped pistachio’s, a little butter and parsley, and I can only describe the two combinations as luxurious, and both the salsa and the scallops are ridiculously simple to make!

winter citrus salsa You can make your salsa earlier in the day and have that all ready to go, it takes a little time cutting the segments and removing all the pith, but other than that this whole meal comes together very quickly.

pistachio crusted salsa I only buy dry packed sea scallops and I still press them on paper towel to make sure they’re as dry as possible, dry scallops guarantee a beautiful sear.

pistachio crusted scallops

After your scallops are seared and finished cooking, which is only a couple of minutes, you press your nut mixture on top and spoon that lovely citrus salsa onto the plate.

pistachio crusted scallops

This is an elegant, light, scrumptious meal, like fine dining at home, a contender for Valentine’s Day for sure!

pistachio crusted scallops

I can’t wait to make this again.

(Want to see what I’m cooking up during the week? Check out Proud Italian Cook on Instagram )

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Pistachio Crusted Scallops with Winter Citrus Salsa
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • CITRUS SALSA
  • 3 different varieties of orange citrus like cara cara, mineola, navel, blood orange, cut into small segments with pith removed.
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons of red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • half a clove of garlic, grated on a microplane
  • a small bunch of chopped parsley
  • a dash of red pepper flakes, optional
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil to loosen the salsa up
  • PISTACHIO TOPPING
  • half cup of pistachios, I used the toasted ones from Trader Joes, chop them up small in mini food processor or by hand
  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound SEA SCALLOPS, dry packed, padded dry with paper towel and beard removed
  • additional butter for searing scallops, season with salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. In a bowl mix together all salsa ingredients, set aside.Salsa can be made ahead of time.
  2. For the pistachio topping, chop nuts and place into a small bowl. Melt tablespoon of butter then toss in the parsley, stir, then add butter mixture into the chopped pistachios stirring well to coat all of the nuts completely.
  3. For the scallops, heat your pan nice and hot, do not use a non-stick pan.
  4. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter or a mixture of olive oil and butter to the hot pan, when fat begins to smoke then add scallops, make sure they are not touching each other.
  5. Do not disturb until the underside is browned and crisp around 2 to 4 minutes then turn over gently with tongs and cook another 2 minutes on the other side,remove to serving plate.
  6. Pat the nut mixture on top of each scallop.
  7. Spoon citrus salsa all around, serve immediately and enjoy!

 

 

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