Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Spremuta (d'arancia)

I lied. I do have something else to say. And for once, it might be something you want to pay attention to, because if you haven't had this, you're going to want to. And if you had, this might serve as a handy reminder.
One of the things I loved, loved, loved in Italy was blood orange juice. Not the sort you buy from a box (yawn), but fresh-squeezed, served in a long, tall glass. Stepping up to the metal counters in bars and ordering it gave me a little frisson of pleasure and anticipation. Spremuta. Technically, spremuta simply means fresh fruit juice, but in bars, at least in the winter, I never heard anyone specify further, and didn’t ever see anything but blood orange juice served up. Being me, it never occurred to me to ask for clarification on this point, and since I stopped ordering it once the oranges left the markets, I can't really say.The first time I had blood orange juice (I ordered it because I watched someone get it, and was curious about the translucent ruby drink), I was perplexed by the long spoon it was served with; one mouth-puckering drink cleared that mystery up. Sugar is added to taste, as many blood oranges are fiercely, brightly sour. The varieties that are available for purchase in the US seem to be hybrids, not as wine-dark as their Italian counterparts, and not nearly as sour. But I still love them. Expensive as it is, I use them solely to make blood orange juice. It’s a once a year sort of treat (and, okay, I often get a little corny and make it on Valentine’s Day, since my husband also likes it), but what a treat it is.
On days like today, when the light is thick and grey, the rain is blowing sideways and I am getting beat up by a vindictive virus, blood orange juice makes everything seem a little brighter.
It's not a recipe, it's just a bunch of squeezed oranges. But buying yourself a dozen or so and juicing them will make for a happy interlude in your day. You'll look at the pile, and be tempted, as I sometimes am, to try them for some interesting recipes, say, a blood orange granita to have with oysters (or alone). But I'm fairly certain that this is the happiest possible use for such a delicious fruit.

7 comments:

bleeding espresso said...

I love blood oranges too (posted about them a little while back even) and I agree--best in just a simple juice :)

Meg said...

Watch, next I'll do a post on my long-lost love, Nutella.

I have question for you: do you find that when you order a spremuta in a bar, you get blood orange juice? What happens once blood oranges go out of season? Do they just serve the boxed stuff, or switch to regular oranges?

SGM said...

Loved the picture of the juice-gorgeous color. Blood oranges are irresistable to me!
Have you ever found them at a regular grocery store? I can only find them at Whole Foods.

Meg said...

Aren't they great (although after your pink puke story, I can't help but imagine their digestive impact.)? I don't think I've ever seen them at a regular supermarket; I usually buy ours down at Pike Place Market (it may often be gray, but Seattle does have its advantages).

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I simply can't get enough blood oranges lately. Your glasses of juice look just lovely.

cook eat FRET said...

first time i had some was in southern italy on the balcony of my hotel room - room service breakfast. i was 27... thanks for giving me the opportunity to relive that for a moment...

Meg said...

Susan- Except for the damage to the wallet, they are hard to get enough of.

Claudia- Having a glass of spremuta takes me back, too (although not to a fabulous room service breakfast on a balcony), every time, and in a really lovely way.