Tricky mixed citrus and cabbages fit for kings

Times Staff Writer

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Oroblanco: OK, first things first -- the Oroblanco isn’t truly a grapefruit. It’s a cross between a grapefruit and a pummelo. But botany aside, the Oroblanco tastes just like the best grapefruit you’ve ever had -- sweet with a perfectly balanced citrus tang and a hint of something that tastes almost like pine. It is one of two grapefruit-pummelo crosses that are popular at farmers markets. The other, Melogold, rarely seems to achieve the perfection of flavor that an Oroblanco does. And if you think they’re good raw, try candying those thick peels -- blanch them three or four times in boiling water to get rid of the bitterness (change the water each time). Strip off any leftover fruit with a spoon, then cut the peels into thin slices. Finally, cook them in a syrup made of equal volumes sugar and water (say, 2 cups to 2 cups) until they are translucent. Arrange them on a cake rack to dry.

Pritchett Farms, $2 each


Brussels sprouts: It’s no longer a novelty to see Brussels sprouts sold on the stem, but the humor of it never seems to wear off. Can you imagine standing in a field of these miniature billy clubs? It’s like a garden on Mars. Treat them just as you would Brussels sprouts sold in the normal way (the stem is edible, theoretically, but not really worth the effort). Look for tightly formed heads with no trace of yellowing. Then be careful to cook them briefly -- overcooking is responsible for a sulfury smell that is the source of Brussels sprouts’ ill repute.

Two Peas in a Pod, $2 a stem

Savoy cabbage: Cooks will tell you they love this cabbage because of its delicate flavor; it’s earthy and sweet with just a tinge of green. Another reason, not to be overlooked, is that it’s just so danged pretty. Savoy forms loose heads of crinkly leaves that range in color from almost blue-green on the outer rim to a very pale ivory in the center. It’s the stuff of a winter still life. Of course, it is good to eat, too. Its thin leaves make it ideal for stuffing. And those cute crenelations? It’s like they were designed for capturing melted butter or bacon fat.


Jaime Farms, $2 per head