Melissa’s Pixie tangerines hit the market this week! I love to put them in my mother’s old burl bowl, and place the display someplace handy.

Tangerines for snacking, or to use in salads, sauces, desserts or entrees.

Or how about a tangerine-juice-based cocktail? Delicious.

Pixies are a variety of tangerines, diminutive orange orbs that are available late in the season (generally from March through late May or sometimes early June).

Most other tangerine varieties ripen in November and December.

Pixie tangerines have been around since the 60’s when they were released to the public by the University of California Citrus Research Center. They are seedless and juicy, with a flavor profile that is very sweet and very low in acidity.

More than thirty family farms in the Ojai Valley grow Pixies and they band together for picking, packing and selling the citrus.

Melissa’s Pixie tangerines are sold at Bristol Farms, Gelson’s, some Ralphs and Pacific Ranch in Orange.

Sweet-tart Pixie tangerine juice can be reduced and used to make an ambrosial vinaigrette to nap grilled chicken breasts. A Black Bean Salsa puts the dish over the top. (OK, you can save time by using prepared fresh salsa doctored up with some rinsed canned black beans. But use fresh Pixie tangerines for the juice)

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Pixie Tangerine Vinaigrette

Yield: 6
1 1/2 cups canned black beans, drained, rinsed
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper or yellow bell pepper, or some of each
1 medium shallot, minced
1 teaspoon seeded and minced fresh jalapeno: see cook’s note
1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
1/2 cup seeded and diced plum tomatoes
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar or sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Tangerine Vinaigrette:
2 teaspoons minced tangerine zest (colored portion of zest)
Enough tangerines to make 1 1/4 cups fresh juice, about 11 to 14 tangerines, depending on size and juiciness
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing on chicken
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon rice vinegar; see cook’s notes
2 teaspoons honey or agave syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano (or  1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
6 boneless chicken breasts with skin preferred (you can take off the skin before eating if you prefer)
Optional garnish: sprigs of fresh cilantro
Cook’s notes: Use caution when working with fresh chiles; upon completion wash work surface thoroughly and do not touch eyes or face.
1.      Prepare salsa: Combine all salsa ingredients in non-reactive bowl; gently toss. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed; set aside.
2.      Prepare vinaigrette: Before juicing, remove 2 teaspoons tangerine zest (colored portion of peel) and mince; set aside. In small saucepan on medium heat, cook tangerine juice until reduced to about  3/4 cup.  Cool. Place in blender. Add tangerine zest and remaining vinaigrette ingredients. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

3. Preheat barbeque. Clean grates. Brush chicken on both sides with about 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill chicken just until cooked through, about 7 to 8 minutes on each side. Or if preferred, grill in hot, well-seasoned grill pan with ridges, covered, over medium-high heat about 5 minutes on each side (a panini machine can be used instead of grill pan if desired). Remove chicken from heat and allow to rest for a few minutes. Cut into 1/2-inch wide diagonal slices. Fan slices on plates and top each serving with salsa. Stir vinaigrette and spoon on top. If desired, garnish with sprigs of fresh cilantro.