I like to keep you guessing sometimes with the titles of my daily messages. So, have I got that big question mark in your heads yet about today's title, taste is only skip deep? Well, I'm talking about not the skin on your body but the skin on many of the fruits you buy. The aromatic oils found inside the skin of many citrus fruits may very well be the secret ingredient in some of the dishes you've enjoyed over the years. From pasta to cakes, from cookies to casseroles, the skin of some of those citrus fruits can go a very long way in enhancing the flavor of your dishes.
ZEST is the skin scraped from, say, a lemon, lime or orange.
When used in a recipe, you probably already recognize the word ZEST, which is the skin scraped from, say, a lemon, lime or orange to give that dish you're preparing a, well...flavorful zest! By using just the zest in that recipe you're preparing, you end up getting that fruit's bold flavor without the extra acidity you would get by using its juice, too. The key to getting just the right hint of a fruit's flavor is to use the skin only without going so deep that you end up getting some of that bitter white pith of the fruit's skin. (A real no-no when adding zest to your recipes.) There are a few kitchen tools to use so that you can make sure you're zesting that piece of fruit just right.
There's the Y-Peeler. (You can use an everyday vegetable peeler to get this effect, too.) Use the Y-Peeler to create long, one-inch strips. Just be sure to remove any of that pith that may come off when you're peeling away. Once you're done, you can toss the peels into braises or anywhere you want extra flavor but not a mouthful of the fruit.
Then there's the Zester. It makes narrow, curly julienne strips that add a real kick to your pastas and sauces. Skins taken from a fruit this way can also serve as a pretty garnish to a recipe you're making. (Remember, presentation is important!) You can also get julienne strips by thinly slicing a large piece of the fruit's peel.
Ever heard of the Microplane?
Ever heard of the Microplane? It looks kinda like a very long nail file, LOL. By using the microplane, you'll get fine shavings and it'll be much easier to avoid that bitter pith by shaving the skin off your fruit this way. The shavings will be so fine, they'll disappear into the recipe you're making but, boy, you and your guests are really gonna taste the flavor!
You can find any of these tools at a kitchen supply store like Williams-Sonoma or Bed, Bath & Beyond. So, if you haven't tried it, add a little zest to some of your favorite recipes. Hey, who knew that just a little skin could go so far in adding so much taste to some of the dishes you prepare?