Here in North America, we’re still wallowing in the grey bleakness of winter (although there has been a taste of spring recently, it did snow yesterday so we’re not quite out of the woods yet). Need a little brightness in the greyest of seasons? Simply Citrus, Marie Asselin’s debut cookbook might be just what you need!
You might have heard of Marie who’s the creator of the award-winning blog, Food Nouveau. I’ve been friends with Marie for years and have been thrilled to watch her follow her dreams and carve out a career for herself as a recipe developer and food writer and was so excited when she announced her cookbook. I’ve followed along as she worked on the recipes, waiting with anticipation for her publishing date, yesterday. I received the book last week and pored over it from cover to cover – the gorgeous photography from Catherine Côté draws you in, then you start reading the recipes and you realise you have a very unique little book in your hands (it’s square and an adorable size, on top of being beautiful!).
From the publisher:
This sunny, beautifully photographed book contains 60 recipes using a variety of fresh citrus fruits, including lemons, pomelos, oranges, limes, mandarins, kumquats, grapefruit, and citrus products such as yuzu juice, orange blossom water, and preserved lemons in a variety of appetizers, soups, salads, main dishes, desserts, and drinks.
Orange and Ginger Pork Sliders with Slaw; Lime, Ginger, and Coconut Ceviche; Grapefruit and Pomegranate Pavlova; and Cayenne Limeade are just a few of the delightful dishes included in this zesty cookbook.
So yeah, citrus fruit, plain and simple! But not just sweet recipes which you might expect from a citrus book, the recipes are both sweet and savoury and combine citrus in unexpected ways – they will make you rethink the humble citrus in your fruit bowl! There are even some beverages – a smoothie and cocktails (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic). Marie says:
I’ve gathered easy savory and sweet recipes that put citrus front and center. Not just a drizzle of juice here or grating of zest there. Rathere, these are full-on, citrus-forward recipes that prove that lemons, limes, oranges and their cousins can play a starring role rather than a supporting one.
The recipes are divided into chapters according the the various types of citrus: lemon, lime, orange, mandarin, grapefruit and pomelo, kumquat, yuzu and more (preserved lemons, orange blossom) and each chapter contains a variety of different types of recipes – from appetizers to mains, from savoury to sweet. There’s a short section at the front of the book with some basic recipes (candied citrus peel, preserved lemons, citrus dressings, citrus hummus, citrus curd (with lots of different fruit options) and citrus marmalade) as well as an introduction outlining ingredients, tools and techniques (the elusive art of segmenting!). The colour scheme throughout (and the bright photo) make for a very happy book – one you’ll gravitate to because of how pretty it is (that might sound shallow but we DO eat with our eyes!) and one you’ll cook from because the recipes are so appealing.
The recipes are all very accessible – no hard-to-find ingredients – and short and simple. Most recipes fit on one (small) page which is really encouraging because you might flip through the book and think the recipe photos are so beautiful you couldn’t possibly make them. Then you get to reading and realise you can! Even the fancy looking desserts like the Mandarin and Raspberry Ricotta Tart sound so completely do-able. The recipes are written paragraph-style but, given their brevity, are not difficult to follow – Marie’s an excellent recipe writer, her directions are clear and precise. Of note: ingredients are listed in volume for the most part (butter and some other ingredients are listed in weight – ounces only though there is a conversion table at the back of the book).
Marie’s publisher has graciously given me permission to republish one of the recipes from the book and I wanted to choose something a little less obvious than the delicious- looking desserts (because that’s what I’d tend to gravitate to naturally). When I looked in my fridge and saw a cauliflower languishing in the crisper, I knew I couldn’t go past the fabulous sounding Spicy roasted lemon, cauliflower, and chickpea bites (bonus: I had all the other ingredients on hand too!). I liked Marie’s suggestion of using this “salad” of roasted lemon, cauliflower, garlic, onion and chickpeas as a filling for pita bread (because I could see this as a topping on a mini pita being perhaps a little messy!
Even pre-roasting, the ingredients are pretty!
Spicy roasted lemon, cauliflower, and chickpea bites
The heart of this recipe is a zesty salad, and the best thing about it is
its versatility. Here, we spoon it over hummus to serve as a bite, but
you can also stuff it in a pita along with crunchy lettuce to make a
delicious lunch. It’s equally enjoyable warm or cold.
1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
1/2 head cauliflower, chopped into small florets
1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment
In a large bowl, add the chickpeas, cauliflower, lemon, and garlic.
Drizzle with the olive oil, and then add the red pepper and salt.
Toss to coat. Spread mixture evenly over the baking sheet and
roast for 20 minutes, until browned in bits. Remove from the oven
and let cool slightly.
Press the roasted lemon slices to release their juice onto the
cauliflower and chickpea mixture (discard the wedges). Press
the roasted garlic cloves to release the tender flesh (discard the
peels). Add the lemon zest, sesame seeds, and thyme. Toss and
transfer to a serving bowl.
To serve, smear about 2 teaspoons hummus on each pita bread,
and then top with some of the roasted chickpea salad.
Recipe from Simply Citrus by Marie Asselin, reprinted by permission of Gibbs Smith.
Gibbs Smith is giving away a copy of Simply Citrus to one lucky reader, anywhere in the world! Enter here.
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Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of of “Simply Citrus” from the publisher for review purposes. I was not asked to write about the book, nor am I being compensated for doing so. All opinions 100% my own. Full disclosure: Marie is a friend and I’m thrilled to feature her beautiful work here.