Marvelous, magnificent marmalade.

Seville orange marmalade I

That David Levobitz. He’s such a mensch. Last month, he posted a tart, alluring recipe for Seville orange marmalade. Seville oranges are wonderfully bitter, in a way that makes your mouth pucker and forget the world for just an instant. All you can focus on is the sweet, surprising taste squelching the inside of your mouth into contorted shapes. Nothing else exists. You don’t want to eat them in single segments, for breakfast. But in marmalade? Oh, the ephemeral joy of Seville orange marmalade.

Idly, last week, I mentioned this recipe to the Chef. “Do you think we could make some?”
“Hm,” his face took on that far-away gaze that meant his mind was melding ideas into something tangible on the plate. “Yeah. Let’s try it.”

Yesterday, in the frenzy of the day-before-the-new-menu-debuts running around the kitchen, the Chef called me. “Hey, can you read me that recipe of David Lebovitz? The one for marmalade?”

I scrambled to the computer. This is one of my favorite phone calls of the day — when the Chef asks me to look up something about food. He never copies a recipe, straight out of a book, or from an internet page. He rarely even asks me to read the directions to him. Instead, he simply wants the ingredients, the proportions, the skeleton of the beast. He’ll flesh it out with his hands.

Me? I’ve never had the nerve to make marmalade from scratch. The Chef? It’s just one of his daily tasks, before he moves onto the rest.

Last night, when I was driving him away from the restaurant, he turned to me and said, “That marmalade?” And he threw his hands into the air, hitting the ceiling with a resounding thwack, and then he waved them, while squealing — the universal sign for “Oh my god, it was sooooo good.”

This afternoon, when I walked in with his coffee, I said, “Can I see the marmalade?” I thought he had made a jar or two. No. In true Chef style, he had made an entire bucket full of tangy, extraordinary Seville orange marmalade. The slices of rind floated, suspended, in vivid, translucent orange.

If you look closely enough at the photograph (which came out naturally with that 70s-style-Vaseline-on-the-lens softness, an aura all its own), you might see the indentation of my finger. Shhh. Don’t tell anyone. I couldn’t resist.

Tonight, however, I’m having more, with his roast chicken.


8 comments on “Marvelous, magnificent marmalade.

  1. Lucy

    Seville oranges are a wonder. Such a depth of flavour – will be a fabulous accompaniment to roast chook.

  2. David

    Well, I have about 20 jars of that marmalade in my fridge. I went a bit nuts this year…enough ammo for another food fight perhaps?

  3. Trig

    It’s great stuff, but unfortunately going out of favour in this country. I cooked with it recently and intend to do so again, although I’ve not tried making it myself. Invented by accident when Mrs Keiller found herself with mountains of Sevilles that her husband couldn’t sell. It’s a great story and an equally great product.

  4. Slacker Mom

    I love marmalade. Yum. I never thought about making my own, and that pic makes it look so goood.

    I think I need to have some on an english muffin…now!

  5. Sea

    how yummy does that look?!!!! (answer : pretty darned yummy)

    I looove orange marmelade. You know what else is good? Pumpkin butter. I know it isn’t the season anymore but I found a recipe and was thinking about making it.

    BTW, I looked Very very closely and still couldn’t find your finger swipe mark. Lol.


    Visit my gluten free blog

  6. Zuzu

    ooooo. That lookd marvelous. I want some in my bread. It’s been such a while since I ‘ve had any real marmalade.

  7. Shauna


    They are tremendous, aren’t they?


    Well, I’d be happy to be in a food fight with you!


    I love that story.

    Slacker Mom,

    It’s surprisingly easy to make!


    Ooh, I hid it well.


    Make it! You’ll not regret it.

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