Putting the squeeze on citrus


Zing: Citrus perks up the produce department as well as winter menus.

March 03, 2002|By Bev Bennett | Bev Bennett,Special to the Sun

Although it's easy to complain about the lack of inspiring produce in supermarkets this time of the year, shoppers sometimes overlook the obvious. There's a wealth of citrus available -- tangerines, oranges, lemons and even Key limes.

Don't restrict citrus to breakfast. By taking advantage of these fruits in lunch and dinner menus, you'll revive winter-weary recipes with orange, yellow, green and pink hues and zesty flavors. Substitute lime juice for vinegar in salad dressings. Lime juice has a tangy, fresh taste that perks up seafood, chicken and vegetables. If you're making a bean dish, add a dash of lime juice. The beans will taste meatier, less starchy.

Grapefruit is also versatile. Alternate segments of pink grapefruit and avocado wedges for a salad. Add strips of chicken or cooked shrimp and serve as an instant entree.

The sweet taste of oranges makes them equally welcome in entrees, salads and desserts. Pair oranges with sliced beets or spinach leaves for an attractive and flavorful salad. Add orange segments to a rice or pasta salad. Just before serving, garnish a chicken, pork or seafood casserole with orange slices. You'll make winter food come alive.

When you shop for citrus, choose fruit that's heavy for its size. The fruit should give slightly to gentle pressure. Avoid those with soft spots.

In this menu, citrus plays a role in the entree of Black Bean Salad and in the dessert, which is an update of ambrosia salad.

Distributed by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate International, a division of Tribune Media Services.

Black Bean Salad With Shrimp

Makes 2 servings

one 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 / 4 cup chopped red onion

1 jalapeno chili, cored, seeded and minced

1 / 4 cup chopped cilantro

1 cup chopped celery

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 / 4 teaspoon salt

1 / 4 teaspoon black pepper

1 small or 1/2 large avocado, peeled, pitted and diced

1/2 pound diced cooked shrimp

In salad bowl, combine beans, onion, chili, cilantro and celery. Toss well.

In cup, stir together lime juice, oil, salt and pepper. Pour over bean mixture and toss again. Add avocado and shrimp and mix gently.

Orange Dessert Salad

Makes 2 servings

2 navel oranges, peeled, sliced and cut across into 1 / 4 -inch-thick slices

1 / 4 cup sweetened coconut flakes

2 tablespoons sliced almonds

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons finely chopped candied ginger

Arrange orange slices on serving plate. Sprinkle with coconut and almonds.

In microwave-safe bowl, combine orange juice, honey and ginger. Heat on medium (50 percent power) just until warm, about 30 seconds. Pour over orange slices and set aside for 5 minutes for flavors to blend.

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