I was offered these homemade candied orange rinds that Giovanna Catinella, brought as a gift for the hostess at a dinner party in Palermo, Italy. The slender matchsticks of bitter orange with their crunchy sugar coating, were passed around with the digestive Amaro, a dark, spicy, bitter liqueur.
Ingredients: about 100 strips
5 large thick-skinned navel oranges
12 cups water, or more if necessary
3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons water
Extra 1/2 cup sugar (for coating)
1. Cut the oranges into 6 wedges. With the tip of your thumb, push the flesh away from the rind, leaving the pith attached to the rind. Reserve oranges for a salad.
2. In a large saucepan combine the rinds with water to cover. Bring to a boil.
3. Drain the skins into a colander. Return them to the saucepan. Cover with water. Repeat the boiling and draining process twice to make 3 times total.
4. Let the rinds cool for 10 minutes. Slice each section into 4 or 5 strips, each about 1/4-inch thick. Take care not to slice too thin.
5. Place the orange strips in a large skillet off the heat. Sprinkle with 3 cups sugar and water. Toss to coat the strips all over.
6. Set the skilllet over low heat. Let the sugar melt in the water, then turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and cook the rinds for 20 to 25 minutes or until the syrup in the pan is almost completely absorbed by the rinds. Watch the skillet to make sure no rind scorches.
7. Have on hand 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper. With tongs, transfer the orange strips to the sheets.
8. With two forks, separate the strips so they do not touch. Set aside for 1/2 hour to dry.
9. In a shallow bowl, spread the 1/2 cup sugar for coating. Working with several at a time, roll the strips in the sugar. Place on a wire rack and leave for several hours. Store in an airtight container, between layers of wax paper, for up to 2 months.
Ingredients: Chocolate Coating
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable shortening
1. In a bowl, combine the chocolate and shortening. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Mix until smooth.
2. Dip 1/3 to 1/2 of each strip in the chocolate; return the strips to the baking sheets and place in refrigerator for 10 minutes or until chocolate is set.