It’s Foodie Tuesday
I love summer but I melt when the mercury rises; I’m simply not built for the heat and humidity of Kentucky. In the warm weather I forgo cooking in favour of simple salads and charcuterie plates. And while I am a confirmed chocoholic, I find rich desserts too much for summer. Instead, I crave the tangy bite of citrus.
(Photo: White on Rice Couple)
There are lots of citrus-based summertime treats, like lemonade and key lime pie, but if you want something a little different, you should try yuzu. This Asian fruit is about the size of tangerine and is an orangey-yellow colour when ripe. The flavour is a little difficult to describe. Some people think it tastes like a mixture of a lemon and a lime but it reminds me of Wink soda, which contains grapefruit mixed with other citrus flavours. The upside of this is that yuzu can be used as a substitute in recipes that call for any of these fruits.
(Photo: Asian Food Grocer)
Unfortunately, yuzu is essentially a winter fruit which yields very little juice. Luckily, bottled yuzu juice is now available from Asian and specialty grocery stores, as well as online, so it can be enjoyed year-round and without the frustration of squeezing dozens of them for a single cup of juice. Just be careful, as some brands have salt added which is more conducive to savory dishes.
(Yuzu Cocktail; Photo: White on Rice Couple)
I imagine myself having guests over for a yuzu tasting menu, à la Iron Chef, for which all courses contain this vibrant flavour. I would start with a refreshing cocktail, like the potent potable created by the White on Rice Couple that combines rum, vanilla vodka, triple sec, yuzu, and club soda.
(Tuna Watermelon Ceviche; Photo: NBC Latino)
Before my guests get too tipsy, I would serve them an amuse bouche of ceviche. I love the playful aspect of Douglas Rodriguez’s recipe, which includes identically sized cubes of watermelon and raw tuna cured in yuzu juice. Just imagine my guests’ surprise when they take a bite and discover the contrasting textures!
(Radish Salad with Yuzu Viniagrette; Photo: Zen Fashionista)
A refreshing salad would make an excellent first course. My local farmers’ market has had lovely radishes for the last few weeks, so Zen Fashionista’s recipe for radish salad with yuzu vinaigrette would be perfect, but I also think the dressing would work well on any combination of greens.
(Shrimp Tempura with Creamy, Spicy Yuzu Sauce Photo: Serious Eats)
As I said, I like to stay away from the stove in warmer weather, but it is hard to resist this delectable recipe for shrimp tempura with creamy, spicy yuzu sauce. If it really is too hot to cook, the sauce would also be excellent in shrimp salad sandwiches.
(Yuzu Sorbet; Photo: Kitchen Princess)
Summer just begs for ice cream, doesn’t it? I always have a few tubs tucked away in my freezer but nothing beats homemade. Fruit sorbets are super simple but the Kitchen Princess makes her yuzu version dinner party-worthy by serving it in hollowed-out lemon halves. This would make a great palate-cleanser or, in my yuzu extravaganza, a pre-dessert dessert.
(Yuzu Mango Coconut Cake Shooters; Photo: 6 Bittersweets)
My finale would have to be something spectacular, like these tropical cake shooters. This recipe is labour intensive but I think it would be worth the effort to end this yuzu-centric meal. Since most of these recipes can be made ahead of time or assembled quickly, I would have lots of time to spend with my friends on a long and languorous summer night, enjoying the light, bright flavours of yuzu.