Cooking with Carmelo featuring Navel Oranges

Cooking with Carmelo featuring Navel Oranges

Our pesticide-free Navel oranges from Ron Matik of Pleasant Oak Ranch in Springfield, Calif., burst with sweet flavor. Here are a few serving suggestions:

Simple Serving Suggestions:

  • Eat them out of hand by simply removing the peel and breaking apart the segments.
  • For a near Michelin-star presentation, slice the citrus segments to remove the white pith. It takes a little patience, but once you get the hang of it you look like a super star and it’s extremely quick. To do this, cut the top and bottom off of your orange. Slice the peel from the fruit, top to bottom, getting as close to the flesh as possible. Once the peel is removed slice any remaining pieces of pith from the fruit so no white remains. Then, slice closely along the sides of each membrane to neatly remove the sections in between. I remember watching my grandfather meticulously score the peel around the top and bottom of the orange, getting as close to the flesh as possible. Next he would score laterally from top to bottom the around the rest of the orange. Finally he’d remove each segment. This is also a great way to prepare navel oranges for a child’s lunch.
  • It’s a convenient coincidence that California citrus and California avocados come into season around the same time; the sweet-tart tang of citrus pairs wonderfully with the creamy richness of avocados. Toss them together with tender butter lettuce, lots of sliced, roasted almonds, and a subtly sweet citrus vinaigrette (see below) and you have one of winter’s best tasting salads.

Rosemary & Honey Poached Oranges

Totally versatile, these can be served with buttered toast or with yogurt for breakfast. You can also pair them with grilled salmon in a fennel salad, as a topping for pound cake or dolloped with whipped cream for dessert.

  • 4 – 6 oranges, peeled
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 teaspoons honey
  • 1 sprig rosemary, about 5”

Directions: Combine everything in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove oranges, and continue cooking until syrup is reduced, 3-5 minutes more. Serve oranges drizzled with syrup.

Winter Citrus Salad with a Navel Orange & Blue Cheese Vinaigrette

This tangy vinaigrette is a fantastic on red leaf lettuce. See the cook’s note for suggested additional ingredients.

For the vinaigrette:

  • 3 Tbl. blue cheese (we used Stilton)
  • 1/2 Tbl. lemon juice
  • 1/2 Tbl. juice from a Pleasant Oak Ranch Navel orange
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 – 1 1/2 Tbl Fresh Press Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Black pepper (to taste)

For the salad:

  • 1 bunch red leaf lettuce, trimmed into bite size pieces
  • Navel orange segments from 1 orange

Directions: Divide and plate the lettuce for 2-4 servings. Top with orange segments. Set aside.

In a small sauce pan, melt the blue cheese over low heat, stirring constantly. When melted, whisk in the remaining vinaigrette ingredients until the mixture is smooth.  Remove from heat and pour over the plated red leaf lettuce.

Cook’s note: For a fun flare, toss in a tablespoon each of chopped walnuts and cranberries. Add in strips of cooked fish, chicken or steak for a nice lunch dish.

Fresh Fruit & Berry Salad Topped with Sigona’s Dark Chocolate Balsamic

You can mix practically any fruit with our dark chocolate balsamic. View the following as suggestions only! For example, a Fuji apple is sweet and a Granny Smith is tart, so if you want to switch it up, pick 2 other varieties with similar flavor profiles. You can grab blueberries, raspberries or even blackberries instead of (or in addition to!) the strawberries. Just use your imagination and make those taste buds smile!


  • 1 Fuji apple, cored and sliced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced
  • 1 Navel orange, peeled and segmented
  • 1/2 pink grapefruit, peeled and segmented
  • 8 strawberries, stemmed and quartered
  • 1 cup grapes (your choice)
  • 1 TBL fresh lemon juice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. organic Agave nectar
  • 2-3 TBL Sigona’s Dark Chocolate Balsamic

Directions: Combine the fruit segments in a bowl and stir in the lemon juice, cinnamon and Agave nectar. Cover and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes to chill.

Remove from fridge, stir fruit mix. Now, you can either drizzle balsamic on a serving platter or individual dessert plates and spoon the fruit salad on top or you can plate the salad first and then drizzle balsamic on top. Add more or less to taste and serve.

Wild Arugula Salad with a Citrus Sherry Vinaigrette

Citrus and blue cheese go well with pungent arugula, and the pear adds a mellow flavor to the mix. You can also use apples or strawberries, just slice them in very thin pieces (use a mandolin if available) and then julienne the slices. Serves 8.


  • 1 TBL shallot, finely diced
  • 1 TBL freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 TBL freshly squeezed orange juice
  • ½ TbL Sherry Wine Vinegar
  • 4 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press Extra Virgin Olive Oil (we recommend our California Ultra Proprietary blend, a local mix Mission, Manzanillo and Navidio Blanco)
  • 1 ½ TBL dried currants
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 winter pear, such as a Comice or D’Anjou, thinly sliced and julienned
  • 12 cups Regular or Wild Arugula, cleaned and well dried*
  • Blue cheese crumbles, for garnish (we recommend Stilton)

Directions: Combine shallot, lemon juice, orange juice and sherry in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil to emulsify the mix. Season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper. Add currants and let set for 10-20 minutes at room temperature.

In a separate large salad bowl, add arugula and pear and toss with some of the vinaigrette. Add vinaigrette to desired coating and serve with crumble blue cheese.

*Cooks Note: Be sure to have your wild arugula dry for best coating. When adding vinaigrette put in a little at a time so as to not overdo the vinaigrette. Remaining vinaigrette will last fine for a week or so in the refrigerator.

Orange, Carrot & Raisin Salad

This salad recipe, adapted from Vegetarian Pleasures by Karen Mangum, is a classic mix of American and Mediterranean ingredients. My Sicilian ancestors use raisins and citrus in many dishes, from breads to salads like this. Serves 8.


  • 5 large carrots (about 1 lb. total), peeled and grated
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 2 Navel oranges, peeled, sectioned and cubed (remove as much white pith as possible)
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced (or use another tart apple variety)
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3 TBL fresh-squeezed lemon juice (from about 1 and 1/2 lemons)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 TBL fresh mint, thinly sliced (optional)

Directions: In a large bowl, combine carrots, raisins, oranges, apple, cinnamon and lemon juice. Add in a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

If using mint, stir in sliced mint just before serving.

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