candied orange peel vinaigrette – so worth the work!

I love a happy accident and that’s all this recipe is. I’m sharing, not because I think anyone will actually take the time to make it but because it was too freaking awesome not to share. Remember when I made the candied orange peel at Christmas time? Well, there was no way that I could pour that lovely, orange-infused syrup down my kitchen sink. Even though I had no idea what I might do with it, I poured it into a bottle and stuck it in the fridge.

It’s blood orange season so, I picked up a bag this week along with a fennel bulb. I can’t tell you how many grocery store cashiers have asked me what I do with fennel… What started out as me just making lunch for Ralph – which I would quickly grab a couple of shots for a post on fennel and blood orange salad – turned into a four hour photo shoot. I couldn’t get the light balance I wanted. The blood orange was, well, too bloody and the fennel was too white. It was driving me crazy! I’m like a dog on a bone when I can’t figure something out. True to form, I was completely focused on my camera issues instead of lunch making. Just the same Ralph had to eat. I grabbed a bunch of stuff out of the fridge and whipped up this vinaigrette. You’d have to like sweet and sour to appreciate the magic but if you do – oh my goodness! So instead of a fennel salad recipe, I give you my lovely candied orange peel syrup vinaigrette. I could have given you a condensed version of my candied orange peel recipe but you can’t condense the time. I figured, if you’re going to take the time, you might as well make the full batch! If you live near me and would like to make the vinaigrette recipe but don’t want to make the syrup, shoot me a note, I’ve got lots in the fridge…

Candied Orange Peel Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons orange peel syrup*
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

The Steps:

  • Whisk orange peel syrup, white wine vinegar, garlic, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper together well.
  • Slowly whisk in oil until well emulsified.
  • Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

* recipe follows

THE LOVE: Has to be homemade orange peel syrup – that’s the magic…

click here for the printable recipe

Candied Orange Peel
makes 2 1/2 lb

12 oranges, washed
6 cups sugar
6 cups water
2 drops each red and yellow food color [optional]
a candy thermometer


  • Using a very sharp vegetable peeler, remove peel from oranges with as little pith as possible
  • Cut peel lengthwise into 1/3 inch wide strips.


  • Place peel in a deep heavy pot. Cover with cold water by 1 inch and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Drain in colander.
  • Repeat blanching 2 more times.
  • Cover peel once more with cold water and simmer until skin is tender – 30 minutes – drain in colander.
  • Return pot to stove and add 6 cups of water and 6 cups of sugar.
  • Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
  • Add food color and boil syrup without stirring until it reaches 220*F on the candy thermometer – about 30 minutes.
  • Add drained peel and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes or until translucent.
  • Remove from heat and let peel stand in syrup 24 hours, at room temperature.


  • Place large metal cooling rack on newspaper, waxed paper or parchment paper to catch drips
  • Lift peel from syrup with tongs and spread out on rack. SAVE THIS SYRUP
  • Leave for 24 hours or until syrup has crystallized.
  • Spread 1 cup sugar on a plate
  • Top with a handful of peel then toss in the sugar until it’s well coated. Add more sugar if necessary.
  • Leave to dry 1 hour
  • The peel will keep for 3 months in a well sealed container layered between pieces of wax paper or in glass jars with tightly fitted lids.

THE LOVE: Make sure you blanch 3 times to ensure no bitterness from the pith! The pith is the white stuff under the skin.

click here for the printable recipe

one year ago: venison and pork bolognese

two years ago: coddle

Thanks for reading.

  • Penny Wolfe

    And this is why I LOVE the Maritimes: “If you live near me and would like to make the vinaigrette recipe but don’t want to make the syrup, shoot me a note, I’ve got lots in the fridge…”

    I’m from Ontario, but I’ve been here 20 years now, and no matter how hard I try I cannot explain the depth of Maritime hospitality but that one sentence when I read it made me smile and think “how Maritime!” I love it!

    Thanks for sharing…literally!

    • Michelle

      Big Smile…

  • What an amazing idea -the combination of the fennel and orange is so wonderful, and I love that you didn’t just throw away the orangey syrup like it wasn’t an ingredient in itself.And I know I’d have bunged it into a cake or something – never anything as creative as this.
    Lovely photos too, of course. Lots of pinning happening here!

    • Michelle

      You’re blog is lovely! Checked it out this am. My father-in-law is from Nottingham England…

      • No way! I don’t remember actually being in Nottingham, but I’m sure I must have gone there sometime 😀 Being down in Cornwall everywhere else in England seems pretty far away!
        Thank you for visiting my blog – it’s lovely for me when people take a moment to have a look.

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      Fun! I’ll have a look…