While the sweet skin and tart inside of kumquats make them fun to pop in your mouth whole, cooking with the fruit may not be the first thing that comes to mind for many—especially since they’re only in season for a few months of the year. But, that hasn’t stopped these restaurants from developing some creative and tasty dishes using the January crop to heighten and brighten up other fare. Here’s where to look for kumquat-infused cuisine up and down the coast.
Located in downtown Napa, Angèle is a French country bistro whose dishes and riverfront setting have earned the restaurant acclaim. But what’s a good meal without a great liquid accompaniment? “Angèle in Northern California’s Napa Valley is where locals go for satisfying French fare,” said Chowhound, “but the restaurant’s creative cocktails, including this Kumquat Caipirinha, are not to be missed.
In his downtown Berkeley restaurant, Executive Chef Charis Wahl creates Northern California cuisine with a twist. The Gather crispy brussels sprouts is a vibrant small plate that blends cashew puree, preserved radish, and cilantro with kumquat kosho, a Japanese citrus chili paste.
This popular San Francisco raw bar loves its local produce, and keeps it seasonal by layering thinly sliced kumquat over their raw scallops.
This brand-new ramen restaurant in the San Fernando Valley city of Encino is from the folks at popular dinner spot Scratch Bar & Kitchen (and, conveniently located right next store in a lunch pop-up while the permanent restaurant is completed). They also use kumquat kosho in their scallop sashimi, along with shaved asparagus, avocado, radishes, and shoyu.
The La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club’s upscale surfside restaurant adds fresh kumquat to their Shetlands Island organic salmon, together with red walnuts, quinoa jubilée, and absinthe pernod sauce.
Want to incorporate kumquats into some of your home-cooked dishes? Try a few of these recipes that elevate the experience beyond the expected, but delicious, marmalade route.
Chicken Marbella is a hearty yet elegant dish with kumquats adding to what Food52 calls a, “startlingly good combination of olives, capers, prunes, oregano, garlic, red wine vinegar, brown sugar, and white wine.”
Making grilled chicken or turkey? Add this relish from Bon Appetit; “Tart-sweet cranberries and sour kumquats make this taste bright and bracing,” they said.
If you’re thinking red meat instead, this spiced and grilled steak with citrus chutney will introduce an elegant and distinctive citrus flair, with both kumquat and grapefruit.
Bitter greens with carrots, turnips, and oranges is a vibrant salad from Epicurious that offers an abundance of January crops, with radicchio, turnips, and shallots together with the kumquats.