Friday, February 22, 2008

Think Spice, Think -- Star Anise

This month's spice event, hosted by Sunita at Sunita's World, features star anise. I love anise flavor, and I've always been fascinated with star anise, and even though I have some in the pantry, the truth is, I've never used it. Until now. I wanted to find a simple dish that would focus on the spice. I ended up making a simple syrup, flavored with star anise, and then using it to marinate sliced Cara Cara oranges. Any citrus would work, and the flavors improve after 24 hours.

Basically, you combine 1/4 cup of sugar with 1/4 cup of water and 4-6 star anise, depending on how strong you want the flavor. Bring the mixture to a boil; boil for a minute or two; cool slightly. Meanwhile, cut away the skin and white pith of 3 to 4 small oranges or combination of oranges, grapefruit, clementines, etc.; then thinly slice and fan out in a shallow bowl. Strain the anise-flavored syrup over the oranges; then refrigerate. They can served as a dessert or a side dish.

Tune in to Sunita's World in March to see how other creative cooks have used star anise.

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