Photo by Kat Kinsman

'Sup, hot fruit haters

Kat Kinsman
January 08, 2019

Have you heard the news? I recently sampled 45 different kinds of oranges and 14 grapefruit varieties. Because I am only mildly but not floridly masochistic, I restrained myself from eating the entire fruit. I only consumed a segment or two of each one and then chucked the rest into plastic bags. I've mostly been muddling them into glasses for seltzer and cocktails and eating them here and here, but that's a crap-ton of citrus to get through, and all that citric acid is harsh as heck on my digestive system and mouth skin.

That is, unless I cook it. People are weird about hot fruit (please see Ken Tremendous' definitive Twitter thread on the subject). Very few people take the time to publicly declare their love for hot fruit (thank you for doing so, NPR's Linda Holmes), but those who decry it do so quite vociferously. I'm going to tell myself that they have never tried roasted orange or grapefruit slices. The heat caramelizes the sugars within, mellows the tartness, and concentrates the flavor, and also transforms membrane that can be so gummy and irksome when raw into a crunchy texture element. Peels, if left on, can soften gorgeously, their oils perfuming your home in the process. I dunno, each to their own but I feel like even a hot fruit hater could be swayed by this.

It's incredibly simple. Heat your oven to 350°F, slice the citrus into wedges or rounds, or peel and segment it (save the peels to make all manner of things). Line a roasting pan with foil (a cake pan or pie tin will do if you only have a little fruit), lightly drizzle the fruit in olive oil, sprinkle on salt if you'd care to, and slide it in the oven. Check every ten minutes to see how things are going, and give it a shake or toss so it doesn't stick. When it seems appealing to you, sample a piece and either be finished then, or cook a little more in five minute increments. Should you care to add a flick of paprika or hot sauce, or some rosemary at this point, it's up to you.

You know what this is great on? Sweet potatoes. If you felt like roasting sweet potatoes at the same time as the citrus, that's a clever notion. Just start the sweet potatoes 10-15 minutes before you add the citrus. They're a glorious addition to biscuits, waffles, fried chicken and waffles, as a condiment for meat, or even just in a bowl solo or with yogurt. Orange you glad you asked?

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