Here’s a wonderful way to take advantage of the superb California Valencia Oranges you can find this time of year. Serve as a snack, starter, salad, pallet cleanser, or a light dessert. I’ve included a recipe for a sweet chili-ginger sauce here, but feel free to swap this out for your own favorite home-made or store-bought sauce. To dress this up for an adult dinner party, add a splash of orange liqueur at the bottom of the glass.
1 Chilled Valencia Orange
1 Tablespoon Chili Sauce
Pinch of lime zest -Finely Grated (optional)
For the Sauce
1/4 Cup Ginger – Minced
1/2 Cup Chili Flakes
2 Tablespoons Honey
2/3 Cups Neutral Oil
Using a paring knife, peel the orange, and then cut the fruit out from between the membranes leaving each section as intact as possible. Reassemble the orange into its original sphere shape.
If serving immediately, place the sphere in a small chilled glass, cup, or bowl, that is snug enough or shaped in a way that holds the sphere together. Top with the chili sauce and a pinch of finely grated lime zest. A cocktail glass, teacup, or snow cone cup. All these work well, so it’s just a matter of presentation.
If you’re preparing the oranges in advance, wrap each reassembled orange in plastic wrap, and keep in the refrigerator for up to one day. To wrap, place the orange in the center of a square of cling wrap, gather the four corners of the wrap above the orange and twist until the wrap holds the sphere in place. These can be placed in a muffin tin, or the eventual serving dish to help the spheres hold their shape.
To Make the Chile Sauce
We used yellow ginger, Sichuan chili flakes, wildflower honey, and grape seed oil, but swap these out for what you like or have on hand.
In a small saucepan or skillet, gently heat 1/3 cup of the oil until it reaches 225-250 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the minced ginger to the pan and saute for 10 minutes while maintaining this temperature. Adjust heat as needed so the oil gently bubbles but the ginger does not brown. It should become soft and aromatic. Stir as needed to cook the ginger evenly.
Add the rest of the oil and bring the temperature slowly back up to 225-250. Add the chili flakes and cook for another 10 minutes without browning the ginger. After 8 minutes add the honey and blend it into the sauce. After 10 minutes take the sauce off the heat, and let cool. Stored refrigerated in a small, air-tight, food-safe container for up to six months.