Thursday, January 26, 2012

Citrus Zest is Gold.

Meyer lemons, tangerines, Cara Cara oranges, clementines, grapefruit....Citrus season is definitely one of the bright spots in winter produce. It's sweet, tart and tangy flavor can help make any dish "pop". Beyond the internal fruit and juice, the zest is extremely useful in flavoring, or "finishing", sweet or savory dishes. Are the wheels turning now?
First things first - the right tools for the job. A microplane is the tool of choice in professional kitchens {or using a peeler, scraping the pith off and finely mincing with a knife}. It is always easiest to harvest the zest when the fruit is whole.
Here are some things you can do with all of that lovely, fragrant zest:
  • Cakes and Icings - Incorporate into cakes and icings to boost the citrus flavor. You can do this in place or or in addition to using extracts.
  • Sauteed Vegetables - Add lemon or orange zest while sauteing vegetables. The oil will pick up the citrus flavor and carry it throughout the dish.
  • Citrus Salts - Make citrus salts for "finishing dishes" with a little sprinkle.
  • Gremolata - Make a gremolata {chopped herb, garlic and citrus peel combination} to garnish meats, poultry, pasta dishes or soups.
  • Flavoring Grains - Add zest to rice before cooking. Our coconut rice is flavored with lime zest.

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