What did I say last week? Zesting? Ah, that’s right. This is a post about how to get the most out of your citrus…from that part you usually toss in the garbage.
Look, I’ll just come right out and say it. I LOVE to zest. Some of you may know what zesting is, how to do it, and understand the wonders of its power. Others may not have a clue what it means or have ever seen a zester. This tip is for the latter
First, let’s find the official definition:
Zest is one of those fun words that doubles as a noun & a verb
Sure, sure…but can you use it in a sentence please?
You’ll zest a lemon to use its zest. Confusing right? Sorta. Hang in there.
So, here’s the official (cooking) VERB: to give zest, relish, or piquancy to.
And the (cooking) NOUN: the peel, especially the thin outer peel, of a citrus fruit used for flavoring
And Zest-ing is what you do. The literal act of peeling off the skin.
Most commonly, what you’ll need is a “zester” (pictured above)…grater, peeler, etc. There’s a wide variety of tools and methods to get that stuff off there. In fact, I’m willing to bet that most of you have a box grater. Probably don’t even remember how you got it. You just use it to grate stuff like carrots every now and then. Well, those other 3 sides come in handy too…
Here’s a handy video. Gordon “screaming” Ramsey will show you how to zestI use my microplane. Those things are great for everything. Citrus, garlic, ginger, chocolate, hard cheese.
Zesting is a fantastic way to use what normally gets thrown away. And things like that make me happy. The zest is chock FULL of oils that pack a punch of flavor. Also, if you’re using zest & juice. Zest first.
Here’s a bunch of examples:
- Toss lemon zest into a pasta dish just before serving
- Broiling/baking/grilling fish or chicken? Toss some lemon or lime zest on it (avoid lime for salmon)
- Lemon or lime zest make GREAT additions to marinades.
- Toss some zest into softened butter. Instant citrus butter.
- Add some zest into your cake batter, cookie dough, sweet breads or pies…even pie crust
- Add a lemon peel to your next cocktail. James Bond did it.
- Infuse some olive oil with lemon zest
- Add some lemon/orange peel to vodka. Let it sit in an airtight container for a few weeks. Strain. Chill. Serve. *We did a variation of this with some Meyer lemons and made homemade Limoncello, an Italian liqueur.*
- Candied orange/lemon peel. Here’s a recipe
- One of my personal favs: Sour cream, a little mayo, chipotle, lime juice & zest = Awesome
- Toss some lemon peel down your disposal. Lemony fresh. (don’t throw TOO much in there)
- Strange tip: Cats peeing in your flower bed? Put orange peel out there. They hate it.
So…that’s zesting in a nutshell. 9 times out of 10, my secret ingredient is lemon in some form or fashion.