Orange Supremes: Almost Guiltless Guilty Pleasure

Fiber is good for you. I am lucky to have pretty strong, healthy teeth. And yet, I find that not having to chew all the membrane that comes with orange segments lets me better focus on their sweetness and texture. Enter orange supremes.

Supremes can be made of any citrus fruit. Use a knife to cut away the rind (and the ‘back’ of the membrane). Use same knife to cut ON BOTH SIDES of the membrane separating each segment. Voilà! Membrane free orange (grapefruit, lemon, lime, etc.) segment. If you have ever been to an even moderately fancy restaurant and had a salad with citrus on it, you have had supremes. When you are out at brunch and they give you the steak knife for the brûléed grape fruit, you are doing the same thing  the hard way.

Supremes are lovely because you can see the grain and texture of the individual plump pulp of citrus. Supremes taste better because, as I mentioned before, without all that membrane you can concentrate more on the lusciousness, and less on not choking when the juiciness gets ahead of the chewing of said membrane.

There is a ‘technique’ to supremes. I learned it in a knife skills course I took a year or so ago. I think it qualifies as a technique because it does elevate the product. However, meaning no disrespect to the canon, standards, and ideology of culinaria, you could easily backwards engineer this one with logic and observation. That said, the gift of learning this ‘technique’ is that now I remember to use it when I want to eat an orange.

The small amount of guilt comes from the following. It’s wasteful. Everything you cut away to create a supreme is edible. And my passion FOR food is matched only by my passion AGAINST food waste. There are ways to avoid this. Zest your orange before you supreme it. Use the ends in mulled wine or cider, make candies peel or marmalade, etc. Further, the more you practice, the better you get, and the less you cut away. True masters of this technique produce extremely plump, symmetric supremes and waste very little pulp. So, go forth! Supreme your fruit and eat it too!

Photo instruction via Pen&Fork (linked above) and video instruction by updowngroupfood here. Use the sharpest knife you are comfortable with. Remember to cut on BOTH SIDES of EVERY membrane.




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