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David Ross

eG Cook-Off #68: Citrus Fruits

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I recently had a "Loukanika" sausage from Olympic Provisions of Portland. http://www.olympicprovisions.com/collections/meats

 

It's a Greek-style pork sausage studded with garlic, cumin and orange rind.  At first you're wondering "where's the orange flavor" and then it slowly comes forward and gives the sausage a really refreshing taste.  It was the inspiration for my idea to pair lamb sausage with citrus.  I'm probably going to make my lamb merguez and incorporate orange zest and serve it with a grilled leg of lamb with a chimmichurri sauce with scads of lemon.

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I've got the elements for the next dish ready--lamb merguez sausage, on skewers and then grilled.  A fennel, orange, red onion and greek olive salad, and a blood orange balsamic syrup.  I was going to add a lamb chop with ras el hanout spices, but I think that's a bit much. 

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What seasoning blend do you use for the sausage? I've some ground lamb and a hankering for merguez, but am having trouble finding my notes on what I've done in the past.

Next question, more relevant to this topic: is the blood orange syrup for the salad, the sausages, or something else?

Edit: found some recipes for the merguez, but still interested in the syrup.

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I plan on using the blood orange balsamic syrup as a dipping sauce for the merguez.  A sort of sweet and sour sauce.  It's so easy to make, just reduce blood orange balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat until it gets to a syrupy consistency.  Takes just a few minutes. 

 

This is my merguez sausage recipe-

 

Harissa-

10-12 dried red chiles, (I used both ancho and guajillo)

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 canned chipotle pepper

1 tsp. Kosher salt

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. caraway seeds

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. smoked paprika

 

Soak the chiles in hot water for about 30 minutes or until soft.  Remove the seeds and stems and place the chiles in a food processor.  Save some of the chile soaking water to thin the harissa as needed.

 

Place the garlic, chipotle, salt, coriander, caraway, cumin and paprika in the blender and process to a paste, then add the olive oil and some of the chile soaking water.  Keep the harissa covered and chilled.

 

Merguez-

1 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, toasted

1 1/2 lb. ground lamb

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp. of the harissa paste

1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp. ground coriander

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

1/3 cup chopped mint

1/3 cup chopped basil

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

1 tbsp. minced fresh orange zest

 

Mix all of the ingredients together and cover and chill.  Sometimes I make the merguez into patties for burgers, sometimes mix it together for tacos.  This time I'll form it on skewers and broil or grill it, then serve with the blood orange balsamic and the orange/fennel salad.

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Well, the merguez dish had some flaws and I'll need to re-work things, but there is promise in terms of flavor, specifically citrus flavor.

 

The merguez needed at least double the amount of fresh orange zest, say 2 tbsp. rather than one. I might try adding dried tangerine peel that I can find in the local Asian market.  The merguez needed more seasoning, aka salt, and heat, aka heat fro the chiles I the harissa or more chipotle. 

 

I was planning on forming the merguez on skewers and grilling them, but that didn't work out in terms of visual appeal so I decided to make mini meguez meatballs.  Turned out looking ok on the plate, but I think grilled skewers of merquez still would have been better.  I think merguez patties stuffed in a pita along with the other elements would also work quite well.

 

The reduced blood orange balsamic was good, quite good in fact.  The perfect marriage of sweet and sour with the lamb merguez.  The salad, a blend of greens, shaved fennel and orange segments, was very good.  I also added some Greek olives, thinly sliced red onions, and dabs of bleu cheese. The vinaigrette was a blend of orange juice, olive oil and dried tarragon.  Also very good, but I think fresh tarragon would have been more lively.

 

So a good concept for using citrus in a savory application, but it needs some more work.  I'm not showing the photo as it depicts pretty much a mess of lettuce and lamb meatballs, but once I get this thing closer I'll showcase the steps in photos. 

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image.jpg

Inspiration taken from a number of sources. Blood orange and Mineola orange with onion, olives and a dressing of walnut oil, olive oil, sherry vinegar and a smidgen of maple syrup.

Thanks for starting this topic Dave. I have stretched my culinary muscles which is never a bad thing.

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I'd forgotten preserved lemons.  I've got a wonderful duck confit recipe that uses preserved lemons in a salad. 

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I tried a riff on the merguez meatballs last night.  For 1 pound of already-ground lamb I added the zest of 2 Minneola tangelos, 2t each of whole cumin, fennel and coriander seed (toasted, then ground), 2T paprika, about a T each salt and Aleppo pepper. I think some already-ground cumin may also have strayed into the mix. (My notes are a bit hazy at that point.)  I wouldn't have thought of a dipping sauce except for your posts, David.  As an accompaniment I marinated chunks of ripe bell pepper and red onion in some olive oil and the juice of those Minneolas.  When it was time to grill, I boiled down the marinade until it was syrupy, added the juice of 1 orange and boiled that down.  The sauce thickened beautifully, with an unexpectedly gelatinous quality from the outset.  I think it must have picked up something from the vegetables to help it on its way.  It was very, very good.

 

The whole lot was cooked over a campfire in long-handled grill woks.  The only problem was timing: the meatballs came out overcooked, because the onions and peppers were added too late in the cooking process.  Cooking the vegetables in a separate basket would have improved control.

 

At the table, in addition to the dipping sauce we had labne and a parsley/garlic/olive oil sauce.  Those three (separately or in various combinations) did wonders for the dryness of the meat, but aside from being dry the meat's seasonings were perfect to our tastes: a subtle citrusy note, the usual pleasure of cumin, coriander and fennel together, and the sneak heat of the pepper. 

 

Unfortunately the photos don't do it justice, nor do they do justice to this photogenic topic.  If someone's interested in seeing what it looked like, take a gander at Dinner II: The Gallery of Regrettable Meals (Part 2) or Camping, Princess Style.

 

I'll definitely do it again.  Thanks, David.

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My version of preserved lemons-

Just three ingredients, Kosher salt, fresh lemons and good quality olive oil.  Cut the lemons in quarters and place in a wide glass jar.  Sprinkle liberally with salt, then continue adding layers of lemons and salt.  Cover the jar and refrigerate for about 4 days for the salt to "cure" into the lemons.  Drain the liquid and then add olive oil to cover the lemons.  They'll keep for weeks.

 

Tommorrow I'll be serving the preserved lemons in a salad alongside some homemade duck confit.

 

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That's certainly quicker than my version, which takes weeks. Thanks, David. I'll have to try that method.

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I'm so glad someone suggested preserved lemons and reminded me how delicious and unique they are.  I served the preserved lemon two ways--a grilled quarter preserved lemon, the warm juice squeezed over roasted duck confit.  Then I finely julienned some preserved lemon peel and tossed it in a salad of watercress, olives, sliced red onion, shaved fennel, bleu cheese and orange.  The dressing was a blend of orange, grapefruit and lime juice, olive oil (from the preserved lemons), dried marjoram, cracked black pepper, Dijon mustard and salt. 

 

The flavors came together quite well. I got the duck confit a bit too salty this time, but the preserved lemon and the tangy citrus dressing cut through the rich salty duck.  Enjoy.

 

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<snip>

Garlic olive oil-

2 cups extra virgin olive oil, (I prefer the spiciness of Greek olive oil)

10 cloves garlic, minced

Let the garlic steep in the olive oil at least two hours before using.

<snip again>

Dressing-

1 1/2 cups garlic olive oil

3/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 2oz. can anchovies, drained, chopped

2 tsp. dry mustard

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp. salt

1 egg, coddled, (simmered in hot water for about 2 minutes)

1 tbsp. capers, chopped

Lots of fresh ground black pepper

I just realized that I have a question about this: does the garlic get strained out of the olive oil after being steeped, or is it incorporated into the salad dressing? Is it a matter of personal preference?

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I leave the garlic in the olive oil, but too much garlic can give the oil a bitter flavor so if you think it's a bit too acrid with the garlic, certainly strain it out. 

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image1_zpsnqbufjsq.jpg

 

Divine lemon dessert.  Divine White chocolate brownie, white chocolate ganache,   lemon curd mousse, lime/lemon glaze and whipped cream and kumquat.   Enough  citrus for you all?  We did think of using a  fragrant orange gel too but the fragrant oranges did look a bit  yucky so we just used these layers instead. Yes the Guest has nibbled on it,.


Edited by CatPoet (log)
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That's very pretty, CatPoet! It looks delicious.

I forgot that I hadn't reported back on the Caesar Dressing. I made it as described about a week ago, and just finished the last of the batch yesterday, using it as our "household" bottled dressing. I loved it. It's one of those interesting dressings that seem too sharp-flavored on their own but are perfectly balanced with salad greens. Thanks, David.

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