It’s the middle of the week and time for another Food Tip Wednesday! Today we’re focusing on citrus zest and how you can use it regularly in your kitchen. Citrus can be just as useful as salt when it comes to boosting the flavors of other ingredients. It’s one of my not so secret tools that can elevate a recipe from good to OMGZZZZZZZZZZZIWANTMORE. Need an example? For 2012 New Year’s, I brought dark chocolate orange creme brulee for a NYE party. I had made the recipe before without the orange zest and it has been pretty well received, but once I added that orange zest that dessert became the most treasured food in the room.
Adding citrus zest to a recipe can completely change how a dish tastes. You can add it to a savory dish to bring out some of the natural acidity in a complementary ingredient. Or you could add it to a dessert to amplify the freshness or richness of the dish. The acidity from the zest makes your mouth produce more saliva, which is key to activating the taste buds. Thus, the addition of a little zest in a dish can make your mouth water for whatever you’re eating.
For savory dishes, I like to add it to salad dressings, sauces and lighter soups to make the dish more aromatic and bold. Lemon and orange zest are perfect for poultry and fish rubs (especially fish, something about lemon and fish go so well together). One really simple condiment to make is mayo, garlic, and the zest of a lemon. Paired with fish or french fries you have a great bold dipping sauce. For desserts, always consider citrus zest when making anything chocolate or with fresh fruit. Also, you can add some fresh zest over top a dessert to add both a sophisticated pop of color and flavor.
As for tools, I definitely recommend getting a microplane. Not only is it perfect for grating fruit to get zest, but it’s also pretty awesome when it comes to grating hard cheeses.
I hope you like these tips, and leave comments below for what you’d like in the next #FoodTipWednesday!