Last night, Jenny made an amazing dish from this month’s Bon Appetit: Pork Tenderloin Stir Fry with Tangerines. It was one of the most original stir fries I’d had in a while (that shit gets boring fast, let me tell ya). After I drew a squiggly string of sriracha around the dish then mixed it all up, it was super tasty. But after you ate too many of those tangerine wedges, you got what I’ll call, for lack of a better term, “kumquat mouth.”
I noticed it when I rediscovered kumquats about six months ago. Four kumquats in, I remembered why I had waited 22 years to revisit those tiny little peel-and-all treats in the first place. You who have answered the call of the kumquat know, it delivers a waxy, tongue-numbing, bitter citrus effect that swiftly shifts from novel to awful, especially if the kumquat in question is on the tarter side. (Staring at my bowl of uneaten kumquats, I vowed to wait another 22 years to eat them again. I tried feeding one to the baby, but she was no sucker.)
Enough about kumquats, what I’m talking about here are big slices of tangerine. Jenn cut each in half, then quartered each of those. In the Bon Appetit shot, I get the impression they also got eight pieces, but all cut longitudinally. Even when you slice a tiny clementine eight ways, though, it’s still too overpowering. In the dish we had, you had to take a mouthful of pork with the peel, swallow, then take a quick small bite of pork just to balance it out. It was good, but I recommended that we–and anyone else who tries this–cut the tangerines into small discs, like 10 or 12 parallel latitudes, to maximize the fruit-to-peel ratio. (You’d probably want to toss out the really thick skin at the top and bottom “poles,” too.)
We all love a good zesting, and there’s no question there’s more to a citrus fruit than the juicy meat inside, but man, just thinking about kumquat mouth makes me want to stick to apples for a month.