“There’s an almost berry or raspberry sweetness to the Sicilian blood orange,” says chef Daniel Kranjcic. “They look great on the plate and they’re not around for all that long each year.”
At Cecconi’s on Flinders Lane, where Kranjcic runs the kitchen, the modern Italian menu showcases the blood orange for its short season from August to October. And there’s no such thing as overkill when it comes to adding them to the menu.
“They’re only around for two-to-three months, and we only use them when they’re in season,” says Kranjcic. “So we try and use every part of them and make the most of it.”
“The classic Italian dish is a black olive, fennel and blood orange salad,” he says. “We do a play on that with kingfish served with shaved fennel, blood-orange segments and black-olive aioli. We use the rind candied in other dishes, in muffins, and we add it to fish dishes. We also use the pith from the segments in a cure of salt and sugar for the kingfish.”
Not to be confused with the pink-pigmented navel orange from Valencia, the true blood orange was originally developed in Sicily and southern Italy. It takes a specific combination of hot days and cool nights for the fruit to develop the anthocyanins (the red pigment in berries) required for its deep, blood-red coat and flesh, with three varieties (Moro, Tarocco and Sanguinello) commonly available and sporting varying degrees of rouge and sweetness.
Luckily in Australia there’s a pocket in southern NSW with just the right kind of climate to produce a beautiful season of blood oranges, including the highly coloured Arnold blood orange from the Moro family.
“Ours are all from the Riverina region in NSW,” says Kranjcic, who believes in minimising the carbon footprint of any produce. “We only use them when they’re in season, we don’t want to fly them in from California or something like that.”
When it comes to selecting the best of these sweet and evocative fruits, he recommends heading to a specialty grocer such as Toscano’s or Leo’s, but says there’s no reason you wouldn’t find good ones at Prahran Market or Queen Victoria Market – or any good green grocer – if you know what to look for.
“The darker the rind the better,” he says. “Sometimes they’re not all red in the middle, or they have just flecks. You want one that’s really red all over, that way you know the flesh will be beautiful and bloody all the way through,” giving you the best visual bang to go with the notoriously berry-sweet juice.
Try Sicilian blood orange:
In various dishes at Cecconi’s (when in season), including the black olive, fennel and blood orange salad, and many of the fish dishes.
61 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
(03) 8663 0500
In the blood orange, date and pomegranate breakfast salad at Cumulus Inc.
45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
(03) 9650 1445
In the poached corella pear, pink-lady apple, blood orange, chia seed, pomegranate and pistachio bircher muesli at Naughty Boy cafe.
499–501 Lygon Street, Princes Hill
(03) 9041 7870
Find Sicilian blood orange at:
217 High Street, Kew
(03) 9853 7762
547 Malvern Road, Toorak
(03) 9827 3714
620 Victoria Street, Richmond
(03) 9429 6064
163 Commercial Road, South Yarra
(03) 8290 8220
Queen Victoria Market
513 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne
(03) 9320 5822
The Vegetable Connection
85 Victoria Street, Fitzroy
(03) 9417 3014
Discover more about Connoisseur Sicilian Blood Orange with Chocolate at connoisseuricecream.com.au.