One of the great things about living in Southern California is the abundance of fresh, locally grown produce. Sometimes locally grown literally means your next door neighbor. My neighbor loves fruit trees, and has lemon, sweet lime, persimmon, and apple trees in her yard. She also has a kumquat tree, and recently it was so full of fruit the branches were drooping.
I decided I should help that poor little tree, and relieve it of some of that heavy fruit. With my neighbor’s blessing, the toddler and I picked a bag full of kumquats. The toddler had never had one, so I gave her one to try. She smelled it, nibbled it, smiled and said “Nummy Mommy!” Sounds like an endorsement to me.
Kumquats are eaten whole, as the peel is rather sweet and spicy and the inside is tart. You just pop them into your mouth, and enjoy. But, what else could I do with them? I did some online research and found the website of the Florida Kumquat Growers, which has a large assortment of recipes. You can even order the fruit directly from them during the growing season. I decided to make some simple candied kumquats, which are great over ice cream, a slice of chocolate cake or as a dessert garnish.
Having picked so many (I felt really bad for that little tree) I needed to come up with another recipe to use the kumquats. I decided to make a simple vinaigrette dressing, which is a great on salad, avocado slices and drizzled over grilled chicken or fish.
Tangy Kumquat Vinaigrette
10 kumquats, quartered and seeded
1 TB fennel seeds
1 cup Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar*
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
In a food processor or blender, pulse the kumquats, fennel seeds and vinegar until the kumquats are broken down. Slowly add the olive oil with the machine running, until the dressing is well mixed. Add salt and pepper to taste.
*Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar is available at Trader Joe’s stores nationwide. If you do not have a Trader Joe’s near you (I’m sorry) substitute 1/3 cup orange juice and 3/4 cup champagne vinegar.