If you are looking for a bit of citrus punch this winter then try roasting a thin-skinned mandarin or tangerine (just don’t use satsumas because their peels are too coarse). Mandarins and tangerines are closely related–Clementines are a great choice, too. The thin skins of these varieties are an essential component of this recipe and provide extra nutrients, tang, and texture.
Some estimates indicate that the peel provides double the level of benefits of the juice itself. Citrus peels are full of flavonoids, including naringin in the outer peel, and hesperidin in the white inner layer. It should be noted that naringin consumption can interfere with efficacy of certain medications, so consult with your physician.
We wash and then quarter the mandarins or tangerines, drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle on pepper flakes, then roast with a hot red pepper. A quick trip through the Cuisinart food processor, and the results are extraordinary. A cross between a relish and a jam, it can be paired with your morning yogurt, used as a “tea” (I add a big scoopful to hot water when my throat is sore), or served with meats such as chicken. It also makes a beautiful holiday gift, and takes only about 5 minutes of active time to prepare.
Turn oven on to 375 degrees.
Wash and dry tangerines or mandarins and slice into quarters. Spread on parchment-lined sheet pan with the hot red pepper. Drizzle olive oil over the citrus fruit and sprinkle with pepper flakes and then salt. Roast in oven until some of the moisture is lost and the peels begin to show a bit of color, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
Place all the ingredients in the Cuisinart and chop using the on-off pulse method. Chop up ingredients as finely as you like. The photograph shows fairly larger pieces of peel; I did one or two more “on-off” cycles to mine to get the peel just a tiny bit smaller.
If using the optional sun-dried tomatoes, add them to the Cuisinart, too. Again, use the on-off pulse method. If, instead, you are using an extra sweet red pepper, dice fairly finely, and add by hand after the desired consistency has been achieved. Taste the mixture and adjust by adding more pepper flakes or salt, if needed.
Put the finished mandarin pepper relish in jars and store in the refrigerator. It will keep for a week or perhaps longer.