Iron Chef MLE presents: Tangerines around the world
We begin in South America, the tropics of Brazil. You may have had a caipirinha before, one made with the traditional limes, but feast your eyes (and tastebuds) on this delicious alternative.
Tasty beverage: Tangerine Caipirinha – South America
2 oz cachaça
1/2 tangerine, halved
2 tsp granulated sugar
Sprinkle the sugar over the tangerine pieces, and muddle them in the mixing glass part of a Boston shaker until the sugar is dissolved and the tangerine juice is released. Pour an old-fashioned glassful of cracked ice into the mixing glass, add the cachaça, and shake to incorporate. Return all the contents to the old-fashioned glass.
Heading north, we shall make a stop in the Caribbean sea. The islands have a wonderful mix of food and culture, and here you have a twist on an old favorite, shrimp ceviche. The flavors of shrimp and tangerine combine with jicama, red onion, and garlic, with a little spicy kick, and are garnished with tangerine segments and avocado. Before you I unveil the ceviche – in a giant blue-rimmed margarita glass. Here are some white corn chips to accompany the dish. For this presentation, I have left out the cilantro, as I know some find the flavor disagreeable. The hot sauce I used is Maya-Ik, available in Guatemala.
Appetizer: Shrimp ceviche with tangerine and avocado – Caribbean
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined, chilled
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/2 cup tangerine juice
3 tsp lime juice
1/2 cup finely diced jicama
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro (optional)
2 cloves finely minced garlic
1 tsp hot sauce of choice
salt and pepper to taste
1 avocado, peeled/pitted and diced
1/2 tangerine, peeled, segmented, and coarsely chopped
Prepare all ingredients. Coarsely chop shrimp and put in a medium-sized bowl. Add tangerine juice and lime juice, mix well, and let sit for at least an hour or until shrimp turns opaque. When shrimp is ready, add onion, jicama, garlic, hot sauce, and salt and pepper to taste; mix well. Serve in a giant margarita glass or four smaller margarita glasses with white corn tortilla chips. Garnish with avocado and tangerine segments.
Far to the west, we cross the international date line, and find a dish with flavors gleaned from the Far Eastern nations of China and Japan. On a white rectangular plate you see before you a composed salad of baby greens, dressed with a tangerine and rice vinaigrette. Atop the greens are thin slices of lightly seared tangerine-marinated tuna steak, crusted with sesame seeds, and topped with a soy-tangerine-wasabi glaze. To add visual interest and crunch, I have included a small sculpture of oil-puffed rice vermicelli. Pleaase enjoy a glass of chilled plum wine to accompany this dish.
Salad/Fish: Tuna steak and tangerine over greens – Asia
1 lb tuna steak/s, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick
1-2 cups freshly-squeezed tangerine juice
sesame oil and black/white sesame seeds
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup honey tangerine juice
1/4 cup mirin
1/4 tsp wasabi
1/4 cup tangerine juice
1/8 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil (canola or similar)
4 cups baby salad greens
1/4 cup vegetable oil
handful of thin rice stick noodles
Marinate tuna steak in tangerine juice (enough to cover tuna) for 30-45 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine soy sauce, honey tangerine juice, and mirin in a small saucepan. Stir slowly over heat until reduced by half. Add wasabi powder and set aside.
Make salad dressing: combine tangerine juice, rice vinegar, salt, and pepper. Slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup vegetable oil while whisking juice mixture until combined. Toss with 4 cups of baby greens; divide.
Heat vegetable oil in a small frying pan. When oil is hot (but not smoking) throw in the handful of rice noodles. They should puff up quickly (within a few seconds). When this happens, scoop them out with a heat-safe utensil and let drain on paper towels.
Heat a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. Brush tuna steaks with sesame oil and dredge in sesame seeds on both sides. Sear tuna steaks for approximately 2 minutes on each side in hot cast iron pan; remove from pan and let sit for a minute or two to cool down. Slice tuna steaks thinly and arrange 1/4 of slices over each salad plate. Drizzle with soy-tangerine glaze and garnish with puffed rice noodles.
We swoop across Asia and Eastern Europe to find ourselves in the French countryside. A glass of spicy French syrah accompanies a white bone china plate with French blue accents. On the plate is a chevre- and herb-stuffed chicken breast topped with grilled tangerine slices, over a bed of white bean and garlic puree, drizzled with tangerine balsamic from Modena, Italy.
Entree: Chevre- and herb-stuffed chicken breast with puree of white beans and garlic – Europe
4 chicken breasts, rinsed and patted dry
4 oz mild goat cheese
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
2-3 tangerines sliced into thin rounds
3-4 tsp tangerine balsamic vinegar
Heat oven to 375 F.
Cut a 2×3 inch slit in the thick part of the chicken breasts to make a pocket in each one.
Combine goat cheese, pepper, salt, and chives in a bowl. Stuff each breast with 1/4 of the goat cheese mixture.
On a 15 inch square of foil or parchment, lay 2-3 slices of tangerine, top with one chicken breast, and place additional tangerine slices on top. Fold parchment or foil into a packet and bake for about 25 minutes.
2 cups canned white beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 bulb pureed garlic (see below)
salt and pepper to taste
Peel skin from cloves of 1/2 medium garlic bulb. Cook in 1/2 cup chicken broth until soft. Remove from liquid and mash with a potato masher. Add garlic and cooking liquid to beans and oil and process in a food processor until smooth and combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Grill 8 slices of tangerine briefly on each side in a grill pan or countertop grill.
When serving, remove tangerine slices from around chicken. Place a dollop of white bean puree on a plate, top with a chicken breast. Top chicken breast with one or two grilled tangerine slices and drizzle over all with tangerine balsamic (available in specialty stores).
Finally, after one last ocean crossing, we end in the good old US of A. An adult version of a childhood favorite, the creamsicle, sits before you in a chilled martini glass rimmed with caster sugar. You see a parfait of fresh tangerine curd topped with a dollop of vanilla whipped cream, garnished with a thin slice of tangerine peel.
Dessert: Adult creamsicle – USA
Zest of 2 tangerines
1/2 cup honey tangerine juice
2 splashes tangerine liqueur
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 pint light whipping cream
2 tsp powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Chop zest as finely as you can. Then, in a food processor, process chopped zest and sugar until zest is in tiny bits. Transfer sugar/zest mixture to a stand mixer and add butter; cream together. Add eggs one at a time. Add juice and liqueur. Transfer to a medium-sized saucepan and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes or until thickened. Pour curd into four sugar-rimmed martini glasses and chill about one hour.
Whip cream with sugar and vanilla to stiff peaks.
To serve, top tangerine curd with whipped cream. Garnish with a curl of tangerine peel if you like.
Edited to add: This was my entry in an Iron Chef competition on a message board I read. The intent is to garner points for presentation, flavor, and originality while keeping it all in the world of the internet – though I think my recipes sound good enough that someday I’ll actually make them.