Recipes and Ramblings in Italy

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Cooking Tip of the Week (February 8, 2016)

Posted by William Abruzzo on February 10, 2016 at 11:55 AM

Grated Lemon Peel Adds Bright Flavor to Any Dish


      The best citrus in the Mediterranean grows in Italy. The region near Sorrento is famous for its lemons, and Sicily is home to vast groves of orange trees. Italians have learned that the peel of citrus fruits is not only aromatic, but full of bright flavor. Finely grated lemon and orange zest is used as a flavoring agent in many sweet and savory Italian dishes. Stirring the finely grated zest of one lemon or orange into your cake batter will add a whole new dimension of flavor. Try doing it with your favorite cheese, pound or sponge cake recipes. A touch of citrus zest also adds brightness to custard and panna cotta.


       In savory dishes, lemon zest can be whisked with olive oil and herbs for a salad dressing or marinade for meat and fish. You can also combine the finely grated zest of 2 lemons with a handful of chopped parsley for a gremolata that can be sprinkled over risotto, pasta, baked or grilled seafood or a classic Osso Buco alla Milanese. In Sicilian cooking, finely grated orange zest, garlic, pine nuts and raisins are added to sautéed vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli for a truly exotic taste sensation. If you want to add zest to a sautéed dish, start by sautéing some garlic and/or onion in olive oil. When the garlic and onion have softened, stir in the zest and then add the rest of your ingredients.

Categories: Cooking Tips

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Reply mariabella
10:40 PM on February 29, 2016 
Hi Bill, just wanted to tell you how excited I am for you that your cookbook will be out in May. Looking forward to reading it. If it's anything like your blog, it is going to be successful. Congratulations!
Reply charluzza
12:21 AM on February 23, 2016 
Great tip. Lemon zest adds an extra brightness to vegetables.
Reply ScampieLover
10:12 PM on February 18, 2016 
Bill your site is so informative. I really enjoy reading everything. You not only give good tips, but tell us how to use them in a variety of ways. Thanks so much.