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									                                                                                                                      BY KATHY HAYDEN




             The Savory
             Side of
             Citrus
              rom
             F refreshing salads to piquant
             salsas and zesty protein rubs, citrus
             is showing up all over today’s
             flavorful menus.


             P        erhaps citrus moved from its standard position
                      as a juice or dessert component to the savory
             side of the menu with the recent boom in tropical-
                                                                             “I remember reading Jean-Georges and just being
                                                                          fascinated with the orange dust he used with shrimp,”
                                                                          recounts Executive Chef David Rowland. “I tried it on
             influenced flavors. And citrus certainly got a boost when    sea bass and our diners went crazy. Suddenly orange-
             lime-infused Thai cuisine gained popularity. Or maybe it     dusted sea bass topped our entrée sales, bumping down
             really took off when Jean-Georges Vongerichten first         Kobe beef, which had always been our top seller.”
             featured orange-dusted shrimp at New York’s Jo-Jo’s in       Rowland oversees the “new southern” cuisine featured
             the mid-nineties and then included the recipe in his         in the six dining venues at The Grove Park Inn Resort
             1998 cookbook, Jean-Georges. His orange dust is              and Spa in Asheville, N.C.
             actually just candied orange zest, dried in the oven and        “I’ve always loved citrus for its zing, its range and its
             ground to a very fine consistency, but its effect on the     healthy qualities, and now with the newness of
             food world was like magical fairy dust, just one of the      varietals like pummelos and Meyer lemons, there are
             ideas enchanting chefs and diners and sprinkling new         just so many more ways to use citrus all over the
             uses for citrus across the land.                             menu,” he adds.



       quick-take                 THIS STORY TAKES A LOOK AT:


     • How citrus has moved from a dessert or drink option into savory applications across all menu segments

     • The influence of popular ethnic dishes on citrus in American cuisine

     • Some creative savory citrus menu ideas from chefs across the country


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                                                                                                                           PHOTOS COURTESY OF SUNKIST
            CITRUS PLAYS A KEY ROLE IN CHEF ALLEN SUSSER’S NEW WORLD CUISINE. HIS WARM CHICKEN SALAD WITH
            TANGERINE, TARRAGON AND ARUGULA IS ONE EXAMPLE OF HIS INNOVATIVE USE OF CITRUS.




      HEIGHTENING AND BRIGHTENING                                     flavor of citrus, the multiple sensations of hot and cold
      POWERS                                                          on a plate, the variety of textures, the pull and push of
                                                                      sweet and sour qualities, and the bold color of some of
         Citrus has long been a kitchen staple, but creative          the seasonal varieties like blood oranges are ways to add
      savory uses mean that menu success stories like                 excitement to the plate,” says Susser. As the line blurs
      Rowland’s abound as citrus zest, dust, juice, oils and          between traditionally sweet foods and traditionally
      essences infuse every menu segment with flavor                  savory foods, citrus offers great balance. “Think of a
      heightening and brightening powers.                             rosemary lemon sorbet, or saffron-vanilla-lime-rum
         Chef Allen Susser, author of The Great Citrus Book           scallops. Food today is borrowing from so many
      and chef-owner of the seminal South Florida dining              influences and mixing so many flavors; and citrus has a
      destination Chef Allen’s, has been preaching the                bold yet balanced way of bringing everything together.”
      gospel of citrus for years. Initially, his interest in citrus      Sunkist uses its annual Citrus Celebre event to
      grew from his love of the regional foods of Florida.            educate foodservice professionals about the range of
      Citrus forms the basis of his New World Cuisine, an             citrus fruit while identifying menu trends and
      innovative blending of American, Caribbean and                  investigating new uses for citrus. Susser describes the
                                                                                                                                                        page 2 of 6



      Latin flavors. His love of the fruit has led him to             event as an opportunity for chefs to learn how to use
      research its influence all over the globe, from the             citrus as the common thread for creating a cultural
      importance of the kaffir lime leaf in Thai cuisine to           bonding of flavors and ideas. “The fun part is learning
                                                                                                                                                          the savory side of citrus




      Morocco’s use of tangy preserved lemons.                        how the hybrid varieties balance sugars with acids and
         At Sunkist’s recent Citrus Celebre event held at             then how those complex taste profiles can be
      The Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone                   combined with unusual pairings of herbs and spices.”
      campus, Susser discussed how, as the food globe                    “Citrus goes beyond sweet and juicy,” adds Kellie
      continues to shrink, we are understanding the                   DuBois, Sunkist’s director of marketing. “It’s full of
      importance of citrus across all menu segments.                  unique flavors like the berry undertones in the red
         “Global cuisine means we’re no longer Euro-centric;          juice sacs of a Moro orange or the cinnamon finish in
      it means our influences span the globe, and the robust          the Satsuma Mandarin.”


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                                          citrus sightings                                         Corporate Chef Bill Scepansky’s job for Kegel’s
                                                                                                Produce of Lancaster, Penn., is to spread the word
   Examples of savory menu applications across the country:                                     about fresh produce, which could mean adding a
                                                                                                “fresh-cut” salad bar to a university cafeteria or giving
                                      WINTERGREENS, RED ONION, BLUE CHEESE                      hands-on help for restaurants looking to incorporate
                                            AND PINK GRAPEFRUIT SALAD
                                                                                                more fruit and vegetables into their menus.
                                        Arrows Restaurant, Ogunquit, Maine
                                                                                                “Whenever I do a demonstration, I try to incorporate
                                    BLOOD ORANGE AND MIXED BABY BEET SALAD                      citrus, whether it’s rubbing the essential oils of a blood
                                          Mustards Grill, Yountville, Calif.                    orange onto the breast of a cured duck waiting to be
                                                                                                smoked, or using the juice with some soy and sugar to
                                     LEMON CONFIT WITH SHALLOTS AND GARLIC                      dress watercress.” One of Scepansky’s favorite salads is
                                        (served as condiment or side dish)
                                                                                                a combination of ruby red grapefruit segments, warm
                                               Craft, New York, N.Y.
                                                                                                poached lobster, white asparagus, grapefruit sabayon
                                     TERRINE OF STINGRAY AND ST. JACQUES WITH                   and mâche.
                                   ZEST OF PINK GRAPEFRUIT, FONDUE OF LEEKS AND                    And for a subtle boost of citrus in salads, Allen
                                      GRUYERE WITH GRAPEFRUIT BEURRE BLANC                      Susser notes that the pummelo is a natural because its
                                          Far Niente Winery, Oakville, Calif.
                                                                                                individual juice sacs stay intact when broken apart,
                              ORANGE RISOTTO IN BRANDY SNAP WITH PASSIONFRUIT SAUCE             enabling the fruit to be sprinkled over a dish, much in
                                              Terra, St. Helena, Calif.                         the way pomegranate seeds have come into vogue
                                                                                                lately. “It adds a subtle, evenly distributed citrus boost
                                                                                                to anything that needs some extra zip,” says Susser.

                                    CITRUSY SALADS                                              APPETIZING CITRUS
                                       “Citrus is refreshing, and that’s what you want in a         Many Latin cooking techniques use the acid in
                                    salad,” says Chef Anthony Goncalves of Trotters, a          citrus as a way to cook tender fish, and this technique
                                    White Plains, N.Y., fine-dining establishment               is gaining momentum on American menus. Ceviche is
                                    specializing in Mediterranean cuisine. Inspired by his
                                    recent participation in Sunkist’s Citrus Celebre,
                                    Goncalves developed his Heirloom Bean Salad which           “CITRUS WORKS WELL WITH EVERY ASPECT OF MY
                                    combines fava beans, haricot vert, wax beans, dragon        CUISINE,” SAYS SAM HAZEN OF TAO IN NEW YORK CITY.
                                                                                                HE FEATURES A BLOOD ORANGE AND BEET SALAD ON HIS
                                    beans and cranberry beans, and is dressed with cilantro-    PAN-ASIAN MENU.
                                    lime oil. He serves this with hanger steak that has been
                                    marinated with an orange and grapefruit marmalade.
                                       Citrus juices are a natural in salad vinaigrette, but
                                    now citrus segments are showing up more and more as
                                    a salad ingredient. Chris Faulkner, corporate chef at
                                    Los Angeles-based Melissa’s/World Variety Produce,
                                    uses some of the newer varietals like cocktail
                                    grapefruits and Uniq or Ugli fruit — a Mandarin-
                                    grapefruit cross — because they have “lower acid
page 3 of 6




                                    content and less pucker” and pair well with herbs and
                                    savories like fennel, beets and jicama. One example is
                                    his cocktail grapefruit salad with mixed greens, fennel,
  the savory side of citrus




                                    Parmesan and Uniq fruit juice.
                                       “I develop recipes and set up style shots to inspire
                                    chefs about the many citrus fruits that they don’t
                                    normally get their hands on. In fact, blood oranges still
                                    haven’t penetrated all parts of the country,” he adds. “I
                                    recently spoke with a person in the Midwest who was
                                    a bit shocked by the name ‘blood orange.’ She asked if
                                    it was for vampires!”


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      a cold cooking method, escabèche combines a light
      sauté with an acid-soaking finish, and mojos and
      soffritos are flavoring and marinating techniques.
      They all incorporate any number of citrus fruits, and
      replacing the more common lemon or lime with a
      Minneola tangerine or the sweet silky flavor if an oro
      blanco grapefruit can really make the most of sweet
      and sour flavors.
         Trotters’ Goncalves has fully embraced ceviches
      as an essential part of his lounge menu, which takes
      advantage of smaller dishes and more varied fare. “I
      always let the ‘protein of the day’ — or what’s fresh
      off the boat — lead my decisions for the menu. I
      like the freshness of ceviches; a nice citrusy starter
      gets the palate going and provides a lot of depth of
      flavor without being heavy.” Goncalves recently
      developed a ceviche featuring strips of skinned fluke


                                                                 NATIONAL HONEY BOARD
      combined with a base of lemon, lime and rice wine
      vinegar. He serves it on a wasabi leaf with segments
      of blood orange and pummelo, and finishes it with a
      drizzle of Patrón tequila and a sprinkle of citrus-
      roasted sea salt.                                                                 CITRUS IS INCREASINGLY TAKING A MORE PROMINENT
         At the 60-unit casual dining chain The Cheesecake                              ROLE IN CENTER-OF-THE-PLATE CREATIONS.
      Factory, a popular starter is a lemon herb breadcrumb-
      crusted shrimp, a dish that shows how subtle citrus
      twists can invigorate more traditional seafood
      appetizers. “Instead of fully dousing the shrimp with                             dishes like orange beef and Peking duck, or the taste
      lemon juice, we add lemon zest to the breadcrumbs,                                of lime in so many Latin dishes.”
      which keeps the coating crisp and really enhances the                                 Classic and ethnic influences prove to be at work in
      sweetness of the shrimp and the overall freshness of                              The Cheesecake Factory’s menu of entrées, which
      the dish,” describes Brandon Cook, sous-chef of                                   Cook describes as “something-for-everyone cuisine.”
      culinary research and development.                                                The chain uses citrus across the board — orange
                                                                                        segments are included in its Chinese Chicken Salad,
      CITRUS IN THE SPOTLIGHT                                                           and in the Asian-inspired Orange Chicken, deep-fried
                                                                                        chicken pieces are tossed in a warm, piquant sweet and
         Differentiation and the quest for the next big thing                           sour sauce and served over a bed of white rice. “We use
      are two vital considerations for today’s foodservice                              it in a classic lemon beurre blanc and our Pad Thai
      operators, and using the more exotic citrus varietals                             Noodles get a kick when finished with a healthy
      helps to set chefs apart.                                                         squeeze of lime, which creates a great olfactory
         More and more, citrus takes a starring role in the                             experience when it combines with warm pasta and a
      center of the plate, fueled by chefs’ ongoing pursuit of                          spicy, salty peanut sauce. And, of course, our Fresh
                                                                                                                                                         page 4 of 6



      healthier, lighter and more distinctive ways to prepare                           Fish Tacos with spicy citrus salsa just wouldn’t be the
      protein and incorporate ethnic influences.                                        same without our lemony cole slaw, which is layered
         “Traditional dishes like duck à l’orange and                                   on chile-crusted mahi mahi and a warm tortilla,”
                                                                                                                                                           the savory side of citrus




      chicken piccata prove that citrus pairs well with                                 explains Cook. “Citrus helps create a cool, refreshing
      protein,” explains chef Bart Goldberg, president of                               contrast to warm proteins. I love it because it offers
      Welldone Restaurant Concepts, Inc., a foodservice                                 freshness without being extremely perishable, which is
      consulting business whose accounts include                                        important in a multi-unit operation like ours.”
      T.G.I. Friday’s, Applebee’s and Aramark, among                                        Thaddeus Hall, a research and development chef
      others. “Some of the more innovative menu creations                               with Max & Erma’s, agrees. He depends on the
      that pair the two are an extension of classic dishes                              freshness of citrus to enhance fruit salads and sauces.
      combined with an influx of ethnic influences from                                 “Our tropical fruit salsa combines a prepared fruit salad


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                                           emerging varieties                                   with fresh citrus, peppers, cilantro and ‘bird seed,’ or
                                                                                                crushed red pepper. We have seasonal fruit salads that
                                A brief description of the look, flavor and appeal of some      use Mandarin orange segments and dressings and
                                less common citrus varieties beginning to appear on menus.      sauces that have citrus notes, like cocktail and Cobb
                                                                                                island sauces.”
                                                         BUDDHA’S HAND — A fragrant
                                                         fruit with a fingered, hand-like       ENLIGHTENED FLAVOR
                                                         shape and hardly any flesh; its peel
                                                         is used for zesting and candying.          On menus featuring a lot of rich proteins, citrus
                                                                                                helps keep things light. “I use a lot of duck and even
                                                         COCKTAIL GRAPEFRUIT —
                                                         Introduced in 2000, this is a          duck crackling,” explains The Grove Park Inn’s
                                                         Mandarin-pummelo cross; similar        Rowland, who credits citrus for helping him to pull
                                                         to a grapefruit in size and peel,      off such rich dishes. “Often I brine duck with
                                                         but sweeter and easier to eat out      bourbon or other substantial ingredients, and the
                                BUDDHA’S HAND            of hand; chefs love its lower acid     old-fashioned heavy sauces would be too much.
                                                         content and rich golden color.
                                                                                                Instead, I’ll use a truffle and citrus vinaigrette.”
                                                         KAFFIR LIME — Its leaves are           Rowland recently added a pummelo-based citrus salsa
                                                         prized in Asian cooking; the fruit     to accompany a Kobe beef dish, which is then
                                                         itself has a thick, bumpy skin and     finished off with a Meyer lemon sabayon. He also
                                                         sour juice; California growers are
                                                                                                features a Thomas Keller-inspired seared tuna with
                                                         beginning to cultivate this variety
                                                         to meet demand.                        garlic spinach and foie gras, topped off with an
                                                                                                orange butter. Rowland finds that citrus is
                                                         KUMQUAT — Grape-sized                  recognizable enough that diners aren’t intimidated by
                                                         orange with an intense sour taste
                                                                                                it, yet varieties like oro blancos, Meyer lemons and
                                                         and edible rind; often used sliced
                                                         and cooked in savory marmalades        blood oranges add newness to his cuisine.
                              COCKTAIL GRAPEFRUIT
                                                         and chutneys; also crossed with            Citrus crusting, dusting, glazing and foaming are
                                                         limes to produce limequats, which      just a few techniques that pack enough flavor so chefs
                                                         are great with fish.                   can forgo traditional sauces in favor of more subtle
                                                         MEYER LEMON — A rounder,               drizzles, essences and flavored oils. Goncalves
                                                         smoother and sweeter variety of        recently developed a lemon and orange zest-crusted
                                                         lemon with a light orange blush;       Arctic char that he pan-roasts and serves over Israeli
                                                         revered by pastry chefs for its        couscous with tomatoes, raisins, pine nuts and orange
                                                         sweetness and golden hue.              segments.
                                                         MINNEOLA TANGELO — A
                                                         grapefruit-tangerine cross with few    NEW SIDE OF CITRUS
                                                         seeds and a lingering honey flavor
                                  UGLI FRUIT
                                                         with vanilla and fig overtones.            As Goncalves’ Israeli couscous proves, the
                                ORO BLANCO — A white grapefruit-pummelo cross                   heightening and brightening powers of citrus can work
                                that’s prized for its limey perfume, peach-like flavor and      wonders on the side of the plate, too. Zest-infused
                                low seed count.                                                 risottos, spicy green coconut rice, Latin-influenced
                                                                                                lime and cilantro rice, and lemony noodles are just a
page 5 of 6




                                PUMMELO — Also known as Chinese grapefruit, this has
                                a zesty hint of jasmine and large individual juice sacs that    few examples, and Rowland even swears by citrus zest
                                stay intact when broken apart and sprinkled over salads or      to lighten up his side of grits.
                                finished dishes.                                                    Sometimes, the citrus itself is the side. Melissa’s
  the savory side of citrus




                                                                                                chefs have developed a cucumber-Key lime salsa that
                                SATSUMA MANDARIN — The earliest Mandarin variety;
                                                                                                is substantial enough to be a side dish. Allen Susser’s
                                mildly acidic with a cinnamon-spice finish.
                                                                                                updated version of the classic French dish
                                UGLI FRUIT — A Mandarin hybrid with an unfortunate              Pamplemousse au Cassis is a grilled grapefruit with
                                name but a sweet succulent flesh; also called Uniq fruit.       ginger, toasted sesame seeds and orange-blossom
                                YUZU — A sour Japanese citrus used for its aromatic rind        honey — a delicious accompaniment to fish or poultry.
                                and piquant juice; its taste is unlike any other citrus, but        “Two years ago, citrus was just something in the
                                closest to a lemon-lime-grapefruit mix.                         walk-in that I took for granted and used at the bar,”


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                                  WHILE IT HAS LONG BEEN A MAINSTAY FLAVORING USED BEHIND THE BAR AND IN DESSERT ITEMS, CITRUS HAS CLEARLY
                                  FOUND A NEW HOME ON THE SAVORY SIDE OF THE MENU, PRESENTING CHEFS WITH NEW FLAVOR OPPORTUNITIES.




                                  recalls Sam Hazen, chef-owner of Tao, New York               markets around the country through consumer events
                                  City’s renowned Pan-Asian restaurant. “But after             and promotions,” says DuBois. Citrus Celebre is one of
                                  attending Sunkist’s Citrus Celebre in 2002, my eyes          the main venues Sunkist uses to interact with leaders
                                  were opened to all types of citrus and their potential       in the foodservice industry. The company also works
                                  uses. Now I’m using a lot of Meyer lemons, either in         with a chef advisory panel to brainstorm new ideas and
                                  hoisin sauce or a Peking duck, which I serve boneless        stay on top of the trends.
                                  and stuffed with lemon fuielle de brick. I pair yellowtail      “We recognize that most food trends are introduced
                                  tuna with cara cara oranges and Chilean sea bass with        to Americans by the leaders of the foodservice
                                  pink grapefruit. I even oven-roast oranges for a             industry, both renowned independent chefs and
page 6 of 6




                                  condiment. Citrus works well with every aspect of my         leading chains,” she adds. “This is why we have
                                  cuisine,” he points out.                                     worked closely for many years with chefs and
                                     Sunkist’s DuBois points out another attribute of          foodservice operators to introduce them to the
  the savory side of citrus




                                  citrus: “Citrus is still one of the more inexpensive         versatility of citrus, ultimately driving consumption.”
                                  ingredients for chefs to experiment with. If they take a     This is good news for operators looking for ways to
                                  chance with a carton of Moro oranges, they won’t eat         heighten, lighten and brighten the flavor profile on
                                  up the budget the way a more expensive or perishable         the savory side of their menu. &
                                  ingredient might.”
                                     Sunkist and other citrus suppliers are working to
                                  make sure that more and more chefs see the citrus            KATHY HAYDEN IS MANAGING EDITOR OF
                                  light. “We have built relationships with chefs in major      FLAVOR & THE MENU. KHAYDEN1@MAINE.RR.COM



104                           FLAVOR   & THE MENU    Spring 2004                                                                        www.flavor-online.com

								
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