Use Lemon Zest to Improve These Foods Significantly

Squeezing fresh lemon juice onto a savory dish adds a bit of flavor and helps balance any irresistible richness, but there is one more lemon that you must sprinkle throughout your culinary existence: the peel or, if you’re a barefoot bill lover or a countess, the “zest.”

Of course, when I say “peel,” I mean the bright yellow, very outer portion of the lemon, not the bitter white core. This golden plant is great, both on a fine grater and in thin stripes. While lemon juice permeates other acid-corrosive aromas, the oil contained in the zest requires a much more subtle approach, gently balancing other flavors while releasing the aroma of freshly peeled lemon. It is bright, warm, slightly blooming and slightly bitter. Here are some of my favorite things to finish with.

  • Without exception, any vanilla or cream-based desserts: cheesecake, vanilla pie, rich vanilla cream, and just about any other rich creamy dessert benefit from a sprinkle of tender rind, especially if sprinkled with additional fruit. (Banana is the only fruit you probably shouldn’t pair with.)
  • Salads, especially if they contain a lot of salty cheese: I especially like the grated Brussels sprouts salad , made with lots of Parmesan and generously sprinkled with lemon zest. Not only are tastes destined to be best friends, there is nothing more beautiful than a large pile of finely shredded cheese sprinkled with golden zest.
  • Creamy pasta dishes: It is a fact that balancing oily dishes with a little citrus will prevent the palate from becoming oversaturated, allowing you to eat more of the specified dish. This is especially true of pasta that is accompanied by cream sauces, which is great because eating a lot of pasta is one of my main goals. If you want a recipe that truly builds on this dictum, try this one from Serious Eats .
  • All Kinds of Seafood: While my practice of pairing lemon with seafood is firmly rooted in squeezing out whole fried catfish wedges, I prefer sprinkling with zest when dealing with more delicately processed seafood like scallops, fried fish, or stews. shrimp.
  • Most cocktails: This is one of those times where you want a large stripe rather than grated zest porridge, but the oils it contains will add the perfect finishing touch to almost any cocktail, be it whiskey or gin. -forward, or amaro-heavy.
  • Roasted Vegetables: From starchy root vegetables to hearty, bitter greens, there are a few roasted vegetables that don’t benefit from lemon peel, especially if you add some roasted herbs .
  • Whole Chicken: Fried chicken, fried chicken, chicken salad, and even fried chicken are all made even more delicious with the bright punch of grated rind.

Obviously, lemon bars, lemon poppy, and any other lemon-based dishes deserve a little zest, but I don’t need to tell you about that. This is pretty obvious.


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