Ingredient: Cara Cara orange

Caracaranew_1

Do you know what this is? It’s my favorite orange at the moment, the Cara Cara orange. From the pinkish tone of the flesh and the bright orange skin, it looks like a cross between regular orange and blood orange. It’s actually a type of Navel orange that originated at the Hacienda de Cara Cara in Valencia, Venezuela, hence the name.

The orange is very sweet, flavorful, and low in acidity. It’s one of those rare things that is as pretty as it is delicious. The only problem with them is the season is so very short. I’ve been getting mine from Hamada farm at the Ferry Plaza farmers market. You probably should give them a try before they are gone.

I love the pretty pink flesh of the Cara Cara in a salad with shaved fennel and arugula. I first had this salad at a small restaurant in Turin, and it was love at first bite. It was so simple, just a handful of arugula leafs, a few very thin slices of fragrant fennel, and some orange sections thrown in. The pinkish red sections of the Cara Cara add a little more fun to the salad in place of the ordinary orange orange. The dressing is just a basic dressing, a little mustard, a little vinegar and olive oil, oh yes salt and pepper of course. Give it a try, I think you will love it as much as I do.

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19 Responses to “Ingredient: Cara Cara orange

  • Fabienne said:
    April 7th, 2006 at 3:56am

    Oh, i think it was delicious… and i don’t know this kind of orange…

  • lee said:
    April 7th, 2006 at 6:31am

    Yup, Cara Cara’s are my favorite too. I’ll have to give that salad a try.

  • Dianka said:
    April 7th, 2006 at 8:53am

    A perfect salad to pair with my cornish-hen main course tonight! Thanks for the idea!
    http://na-zdravi.blogspot.com/

  • ciara said:
    April 7th, 2006 at 11:11am

    We’ve had them in Seattle for several months. I drove my friends crazy talking about how gorgeous they are – both to look at and eat, by the dozen 🙂

  • Camden said:
    April 8th, 2006 at 2:24am

    . . . I think I have to go up to the city again soon. Hamada Farm, farmer’s market, ferry building. Saturdays, right?

  • sudhi said:
    April 8th, 2006 at 8:19am

    Pim, do you take all these pictures? They are outstanding.

  • sudhi said:
    April 8th, 2006 at 8:23am

    Pim, do you take all these pictures? They are outstanding.

  • shubho said:
    April 8th, 2006 at 2:47pm

    Totally love Cara Cara – but as you said the season is so short. I don’t get them in Davis CA anymore

  • Jimmy-in-Seattle said:
    April 8th, 2006 at 5:04pm

    Pim…Great salad idea!! Thanks…U da best……..

  • Diane said:
    April 9th, 2006 at 7:22am

    I’ve been on a kick lately eating salads with watercress, sliced fennel and blood oranges. On your rec., I bought two of these this weekend and will be making a variation on that tonight – arugala, fennel and cara cara.
    Beautiful pictures!

  • Joe West said:
    April 10th, 2006 at 12:15am

    I love this citrus! The first time I experienced this awesome orange was when I was acually working. I went into the Walk-In Cooler and kneeled down to organize my shelf and we had sectioned cara cara oranges in a container sitting there. So of course, I had to try one out but the funny thing is that I thought they were Grapefruit. It was so sweet and juicy, I just had to drink the extracted juice from the segmented cara cara oranges :). Right now, I’ve been buying them at the local Whole Foods Market.

  • rob said:
    April 10th, 2006 at 10:18am

    It must be the season for rare citrus. I was at the St. Lawrence Market on Saturday (I’m from Toronto), and found Palestine sweet limes. They’re yellow, almost completely non-acidic, and taste more like melon than citrus. They can literally be eaten out of hand.
    Pim, I don’t suppose you’ve come across them in your travels? I gather they’re popular in Middle Eastern-cuisine, but that’s about all I’ve been able to find out.
    As for Cara Caras, are they only available on the west coast? I’ve never seen anything like that here.

  • Julie said:
    April 10th, 2006 at 11:51am

    The cara-caras are my absolute favorite also; harder to come by in NYC though not completely impossible. I’ve been making tri-color orange salads with blood oranges, navels and cara-caras, as well as whatever else tickles my fancy: fennel, watercress, avocado, arugula, olives. And a bit of blood-orange vinegar in the dressing just enhances it all…

  • Pim said:
    April 11th, 2006 at 2:48am

    Thanks everyone.
    Julie and Diane: your salads sound like fun too. I might give them a try soon. No more Cara Cara at my market though…too bad.
    Rob: I have tried Palestine Lime. David knows a citrus hobbyist who has them in his grove. I’ve never used it in cooking so I’m afraid I’m not of much help.
    cheers all,
    Pim

  • Preya said:
    April 11th, 2006 at 5:32pm

    I also fell in love with cara cara navels…yummy!

  • Risottogirl said:
    April 15th, 2006 at 11:49am

    Last week I used cara cara oranges for the first time in a gratin – along with mineolas and blood oranges. Beautiful!

  • nancy said:
    April 18th, 2006 at 3:47pm

    I went for a long run the other day and was absolutely craving fruit. Luckily, I was passing a Wild Oats, a natural food store here in Portland. Right by the door, they had a plate of cut-up Cara Caras, for sampling. I ate six slices in about as many seconds, fantastic, and as sort of a bonus, found that the skin–rind, pith, the whole lot–is soft, sweet and edible.
    Then again, I was pretty hungry.

  • Cara Black said:
    April 26th, 2006 at 8:44pm

    an orange with my name…twice love ’em

  • Fran said:
    March 23rd, 2008 at 7:49pm

    I tried them for the first time this week. Delicous and very mild. Bought them in Costco. Now that I know that they are not around for long, I will buy more.

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