Kumquats look like olive-sized oranges but, unlike other citrus fruits, they can be eaten whole with the peel. There are two common varieties, their shape being either oval or round. They have a sweet and tangy taste, the skin being sweeter and the core being sour and tangy. They are packed with numerous anti-oxidants that have health benefits. The peel is rich in essential oils and fibre. Fresh kumquat contains an ample amount of Vitamin A, C and E which helps remove free radicals from the body and protect us from infections, diabetes and cancer. It also helps in faster iron absorption and healing wounds.
Kumquats can be stored at room temperature for 3-4 days and in the refrigerator for almost three weeks. They should be rolled between the fingers before eating them to evenly distribute the flavours from the peel to the pulp.
Now, for a recipe.
Kumquat, Prune and Purple Asparagus Salad
Kumquats, sliced into thin rounds: 80 gm
Prunes, sliced: 40 gm
Purple Asparagus, cut diagonally and blanched: 60 gm
Iceberg lettuce, broken into small pieces: 100 gm
Baby Rockett leaves: 100 gm
Flat parsley: 15 gm
Parmesan shavings: 20 gm
Lemon juice: 10 ml
Extra virgin olive oil: 30 ml
Salt, crushed black and pink pepper to taste
Method: Combine the kumquat roundels, sliced prunes, cut and blanched asparagus, along with the parsley and salad leaves. Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to prepare the dressing. Pour the dressing on the salad and toss. Place the shaved parmesan on top of the dressed salad.
The writer is Sous Chef, Taj Club House, Chennai