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Technique Tuesday: How to Supreme Citrus


As committed to a locavore diet as I am, for sanity's sake, a little citrus is a welcome addition at this seemingly endless point in the winter season.  Lemons, oranges, limes, tangerines and just recently, blood oranges, have made their way into salads, dressings, marinades and desserts, and brought some desperately needed sunshine to my own stockpiles of potatoes, squash, and canned vegetables in our cellar.

Frequently, when cooking with citrus, the recipe will require the fruit to be Supremed.  A supreme of citrus is one of the natural sections that has been cut away from the tougher, and sometimes bitter, membrane.  A much lovelier presentation, particularly in salads, it also exposes more of the flesh and juice and allows the ingredients to blend together more fully, without the "outer wrapping" of the chewy membrane.

Note: A very sharp pairing knife will help make this process a lot more successful.





1.  Cut a medium circle of peel off both the stem and blossom ends of the fruit, to expose the fruit flesh.  This will also give you an even, more stable end to stand the fruit on.

2.  Run your knife from one exposed area to the other, following the shape of the fruit.  Don't cut too deep, but remove all white pith, and the layer of membrane, that lies just under the peel.

3.  Continue all around the fruit until all of the peel has been cut away, and just the inner fruit remains.  You may need to trim some stray areas of white pith here and there.



4.  Carefully place the blade of your knife parallel with one of the lines of membrane that divides each section.  Cut almost to the center to where you feel the innermost corner of the segment.  Repeat on the other side of the segment, connecting the two cuts.  Twist knife gently to dislodge the supreme.  Repeat for all segments.

Alternatively, you can also make attractive slices of citrus after cutting away all of the peel, as seen below, instead of cutting out the individual supremes.  (I'll use this technique later this week for my Blood Orange and Clementine Galette.)



4 Responses to “Technique Tuesday: How to Supreme Citrus”

  1. [...] peel, pith, and membrane of both citrus, and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices, as described in this post.  Keep blood oranges and tangerines in separate [...]

  2. [...] blogger who wrote the recipe that inspired this dessert, was luckily a culinary school graduate who explained the technique (this link is actually SO [...]

  3. [...] the rind from the cantaloupe. (You can cut off each end and then around the outside, like at the start of supreming citrus.) Cut the melon in half and scoop out the seeds.  Roughly cut the fruit into about one inch [...]

  4. [...] Here are step by step photos on how to supreme a blood orange. [...]

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Catie Baumer Schwalb is a chef, food writer and photographer, who splits her life between the city and the country. Not too long ago Catie was a New York City based actress and playwright for more than a decade. She has her Master of Fine Arts from the National Theater Conservatory, and her Grand Diplôme in classic culinary arts from the French Culinary Institute in New York City. ... Read More

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