Just heading into its peak season, yuzu has moved beyond its traditional application as a key ingredient in Japanese flavorings like ponzu sauce and kosho paste. These days, the bumpy, big-seeded citrus fruit is turning up as a tart and tangy ingredient in cocktails, appetizers, salad dressings and marinades.
Subtle and sublime
Like other citrus fruit, yuzu is a rich source of vitamin C and carries anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. But what most people want to talk about is its taste. David Feder, the executive editor-technical at Prepared Foods magazine, praises yuzu for its subtle, sublime flavor. “It tastes like a lemon or lime crossed with a tangerine, but it’s not astringent like other citrus,” he says. “I was a chef at high-end restaurants back in the 1980s, and it was just starting to be known as an ingredient. It hasn’t really taken off the way other fruits like Meyer lemons or acai have, but the cocktail boom might help put it over the top now.”
While it is available in a paste or in bottles, fresh yuzu is also grown domestically in California and is available only from October through December. “We started carrying fresh yuzu about seven years ago,” says Robert Schueller, Director of Public Relations at Melissa’s Produce and “Produce Guru” for Cooking Light magazine. “Our customers seem to prefer the early-available versions that are harvested in October and November, when the fruit is hard, dark green and tarter. Toward November and December, the fruit turns yellow and gets bigger, softer and sweeter.”
If you come into a supply of fresh yuzu, Feder suggests focusing on dishes that will allow its bright flavors to shine through. He especially loves the zing it adds to desserts and vinaigrettes. “To enhance dishes you’d normally brighten with a squirt of lemon, try a finish of fresh yuzu instead,” he says. When you’re ready to experiment further, he suggests: “Try it as a foam garnish, or make it into a sorbet. And the fruit makes an excellent pairing with vodka and other spirits.”
Try adding a splash of yuzu juice to Marzetti® Balsamic, Champagne, Cumin Lime, Lemon, Light Raspberry or Pomegranate Vinaigrette for an extra dash of fresh citrus flavor.
On Your Plate blog – Citrus Zest Makes Dishes Dynamic
• 3 ½ cups Marzetti® Asian Sesame Dressing
• ½ cup Yuzu juice
• 2 Tbsp. Togarashi Seasoning (or 2 Tbsp crushed red pepper flakes)
• ¼ cup Soy sauce
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