Saturday, December 20, 2008

Yu-who? Yuzu.

One of the most common ingredient I see on restaurant menus in the Bay Area is yuzu, the Japanese citrus. It just sounds so exotic, huh? But I never met the yuzu, until last weekend at the farmers market at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza. Since we’re entering citrus season, there are more interesting lemons, oranges and such at the markets. I picked them up at my favorite place for fruits, The Hamada Farms from Central Valley.

The yuzu looked a lot like a tangerine, and when I cut into them at home I was right. It has sections like a tangerine and the peel came off easily like the crinkly orange-colored tangerine pith. But the fragrance was the most interesting part about the yuzu. It’s a little like a Meyer lemon with the scent of sweet lemons and tangerines combined. The juice itself, however, is really sour, more so than limes.

The Japanese often blend the juice with soy sauce. Since this is the first time I was using it, I figured I’ll do the same and just poured it over a fresh red snapper that I got from an Asian grocery store in San Francisco. I made sure to use the zest of the yuzu because I really do like the fragrance of it more than the juice. If you spot them at the markets (they are still pretty rare to find), give them a try. Enjoy!

8 comments:

Carroll said...

Chef Ben! Thank you!!!!!!! This looks exactly like the fruit we have growing on a "mystery tree" that was supposed to have been a tangerine, but clearly isn't. I've been letting the fruit hang on as long as possible in hopes it will sweeten as it tree-ripens, but that's sure not happening fast. Now you've got me wondering whether we should demand our money back, or thank the garden center for providing such an exotic substitution!

Chef Ben said...

Wow Carroll, I failed to mention that I bought mines at the farmers market at $3 a pound! So you could sell them and make a pretty penny, especially to restaurants who seem to love using it fresh in menus. I find that when the skin gets dark yellow, the juice has dried out a bit inside. So I would pick them when they look plump and yellow instead of crinkly and dark yellow.

Passionate Eater said...

I hope you saved those seeds for planting! $3/lb for citrus fruit, could translate into quite a profit!

Selba said...

The yuzu looks kinda dry from the pic but does it really got a lot of juice? Wondeirng coz' never tried it before :D

Chef Ben said...

Selba, you're right. The ones I got were on the drier side. I could only get like a 1/4 cup of juice from three yuzu fruits. So it seems it's best to get them more waxy skin than crinkly.

Carolyn Jung said...

So if you had to choose between yuzu and Meyer lemons, which would be your citrus of choice?

Chef Ben said...

Carolyn, I would choose Meyer lemons for their juice, it's easier to cook with. But I would pick the yuzu for hanging around the house and smelling the fragrance from the pith. Oh, did I share too much?

foodhoe said...

Chef Ben, I agree that does look a tad shriveled. I love meyer lemons, especially for their fragrance but I find their juice a little on the sweet side...