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Sonoma County Gazette
Broccolini with Mandarin and Chili

Mad for Mandarins - Recipe

Nov 24, 2017


By Kelly Smith

The holiday season always makes me happy for citrus season. As young adults, my brother and I would give citrus as gifts. Not having much money, it makes a great gift. Mandarins are a sweet treat that last for awhile. Now that I am older and working at the farmers’ markets, I find it still to be a great gift to give. They are great, eaten peeled by the slice, in winter salads or even dipped in chocolate.

My madness for mandarins led me to want to learn more about the sweet fruit that I always associated with winter’s sunshine. “Mandarin oranges” is a term that applies to an entire group of citrus fruits. This group, botanically classified as Citrus reticulata, includes such varieties as Satsuma, Clementine, Dancy, Honey, Pixie and tangerines in general. Most are sweeter than their other citrus cousins (yet there are some tart varieties), have a bright orange skin that is easy to peel, and inner segments that are easily separated. There are seeded and seedless varieties.

The terms “mandarin orange” and “tangerine” are often used interchangeably, particularly outside the United States. This can be confusing, because although a tangerine is a mandarin orange, not all mandarin oranges are tangerines. Tangerines are the most common variety of fresh mandarin orange found in the U.S.

Mandarin refers to the bright orange robes worn by the mandarins, public officials of the ancient Chinese court. These delectable fruits were often reserved strictly for the privileged class in the Far East, another distinguishing reason why they are called mandarins or mandarin oranges today.

Although cultivated for over 3,000 years in China, mandarin oranges did not reach Europe and North America until the nineteenth century. The first mandarin oranges to be exported were shipped from the city of Tangiers in Morocco, hence the moniker tangerines.

Broccolini with Mandarin and Chili


2 handfuls of Broccolini,
or broccoli

4 Mandarins,
sliced into rounds


1 tsp Whole grain mustard

1½ Tbsp Olive oil

½ tsp Dried chilli flakes

1 Lemon, juice and
finely grated zest

1 tsp Honey

2 tsp Chia Seeds


Blanch broccolini or broccoli in boiling water for a couple of minutes then run under cold water to bring out the color.

Mix dressing ingredients well in a cup or jug.

Arrange broccolini (or broccoli) and mandarins on a platter and drizzle over with dressing.


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