During my time in the area around Nice, last year, I became familiar with Daube, a Provencal beef stew which gets its unique flavour, in part, by the addition of dried orange peel. The bouillabaisse of the region also is flavoured with dried orange. This makes sense as citrus grow easily in the south of France and what better way to brighten something hearty and rich.
When you dry orange peel it changes from the bright, lively flavour of its fresh form to a deeper, more complex flavour and aroma. This evolution is what makes it appropriate for use in savoury dishes like stews and soup. The flavour of the orange is harder to pinpoint when used this way, but is unique and fresh.
Peel the zest from the orange with a sharp peeler, leaving the white pith behind. Leave it in a single layer on a plate. In about 3 days it will be hard and breakable. Store in airtight spice jars for up 6 months. If you need it in powder form use a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.
- Add to spice blends and rubs for any meat or fish.
- Add to kosher salt with a few course grindings of peppercorns to be used as a seasoning for meat and fish.
- Tea: place a few pieces in a tin of tea and leave it there for at least a month.
- Flavour Sugar: mix powder with granulated sugar. Sprinkle on cookies.
- Add 2-3 strips to your favourite stew or soup, especially beef and fish or to a simple tomato sauce.
- Sprinkle a pinch of powder into a pasta with raw garlic and parsely.
- Add a few strips to a bottle of bourbon, dark rum or brandy.
- Add a pinch to rice before cooking
- Use as handy flavouring for glazes and icing for cakes. Start with 1/2 tsp.
- Don't feel like zesting that fresh orange? Add 1/2 tsp powder to a cake mix.