Normally I do not mix fruit and meat. The idea just skeeves me. Or at least it used to. Then, I ate the Green Apple Salad from a nearby restaurant, Home Grown. It has lettuce, brie cheese, bacon pieces, grilled chicken, walnuts, and green apple slices. I absolutely love it. So much so that I started making salads at home and including sliced apples.
Apples are one thing, oranges are another. Apples are crispy, firm and homo-texturous. Yes, I made that word up. It means they have one texture. Aside from the skin, the whole inside of an apple is the same. Oranges, however, have pulp, lots and lots of juice, sometimes seeds. And they squirt!
This is the #1 reason why I have always been afraid of oranges with meat and in complex entrees. The flavor, or zest is fine – it’s the texture and squirting. I don’t want that type of texture and juice mixed with my savory meals. Until now.
I went in to my favorite local pizza place, Peace-A-Pizza with a coupon for a buy-one, get-one free slice. I opted for a favorite: Ultimate Buffalo and a newbie (go figure) Honey Lime Chicken. Now the latter has small pieces of what look to me like mandarine oranges. I was super super super duper skeptical, but there were only a few and they could easily be picked off if I really hated them. To my surprise, I like it!
It is a white slice (no marinara) with breaded chicken, mozzarella, dried cherries (or cranberries?) and these tiny mandarin oranges.
I played the first bite safe, avoiding the orange. It was good. Classic, cheesy white with a little extra sweetness from the honey. The chicken is good but a little on the dry side (not at all inedible or anything, just a little dry). Next bite: orange. I can’t believe that I am saying this, but it is good! Because the orange is heated (I know, I know, this idea grosses me out, too, but it’s good, I promise!) the texture changes to just one texture. And the mandarine (?) oranges don’t seem to have seeds or much pulpiness to them. The orange piece itsself didn’t have much flavor and the juice didn’t squirt anywhere – it just entered my mouth, one flavor one texture and mixed with the rest of the ingredients in the bite.
It’s kind of sweet, but nothing over powering. I can’t believe it. But I like it. Will I get it again, though? Sure. If the chicken looks juicy. Otherwise, I’ll pass on this. But I will try more things with oranges on them – as long as the oranges are heated. Sounds crazy, I am well aware, and can hardly believe it myself, but the key is for the orange to take on a new form. Cold oranges in a hot salad with chicken – I’ll try it, because that’s my thing, but I am hypothesizing that I like the “heated” orange incorporation better.
Are you just as scared as I am? I know I am not alone!
Your thoughts? Do you like fruit in your traditional entree style meals? What kinds? Any recommendations?
Thoughts about cold versus hot fruit in your dishes?
I would love to know what you think about this!