Saturday, November 29, 2014

Flamed Satsuma Peel Marmalade

Marmalade is amazing because it utilizes the entire fruit to harness an array of flavors and textures. It only made sense to give Satsumas a go when they showed up this season.

Searzall Charred Satsuma
As with all of my investigations, there's a twist (pun intended). I couldn't help but wonder if using the cocktail method of flaming the orange peel would enhance the flavor. The key was figuring out a way to capture the aromatics so squeezing the peel to ignite the citrus oil was out. The Searzall sitting on my counter was the obvious answer. I lit it up and torched the Satsuma whole. It smelled pretty awesome and knew that I was onto something.

Plump and Warm Satsuma Post Peel Torching
Fresh Satsumas are addictive because they're easy to peel, crazy sweet and seedless. When I bought them for this project, I ate so many that my tongue went numb. The aromatic zest and scant amount of pith brings down the bitterness that you'd expect in a traditional orange marmalade. The membranes are so delicate there's no need to separate them in a muslin bag to extract the pectin.

Sliced Satsuma and Ribbons of Charred Peels
After I torched the mandarin, I peeled off the skin. Then I sliced the orange, did up a chiffonade on the peels and put them into a medium sauce pan. I cut the sugar down to 1/3 what's called for in a standard marmalade. The intent was to highlight the flavors instead of drowning them out with sweetness. You end up with a refrigerator jam that can't be put up but that's ok.

Flamed Satsuma Peel Marmalade
After it was cooked down and cooled, I tasted it. The Satsumas shined with a toned down bitterness. There were also smoky & burnt notes that came through from the charred peel. The ribbons of zest didn't hold together as much as a traditional, but it still had plenty of texture contrast. It was everything I hoped it would be.

Now go forth and make marmalade with any citrus you enjoy eating fresh. There's also something to be said for using the flavorful parts that would otherwise be tossed. It harnesses an indescribable complexity that by default matches the fruit. Also, don't forget to char all the citrus or any fruit for that matter prior to making a fruit preserve. So many possibilities...

The Method
  • Start off with a marmalade recipe of your choice (Here's AB's)
  • Scale the recipe down to make 1 pint or whatever amount you can use up in a couple weeks
  • Cut the sugar content down to a third
  • Simmer until most of the water is driven out before you kick up the heat to get to temperature
  • Once it's cool, refrigerate
  • It should last for at least a couple weeks in the fridge

As always, let us know how this inspires you to keep the ideas bouncing.

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