May 26, 2014

How to Properly Zest and Make a Citrus Vinaigrette

By: Helena Stallings, Culinary Arts Student

As Culinary Arts student Mark Dinnocenzo demonstrated in the How-To video, the first step in properly zesting citrus fruit is to hold your zester or microplane upside down with the rough side facing down. Sometimes zest can be extremely over powering, so by turning the zester upside down you are able to catch all of the zest and monitor how much you want to use in the product. The second step is to remember to only zest 1 to 2 times before turning to a new spot. All of the flavor is in the outer most layer and if you zest the peel more than 2 times in one spot you will start catching the pith, which is bitter and undesirable.

There are many recipes that use various kinds of citrus fruit zest, but one of my favorite applications we’ve used at Escoffier is a citrus vinaigrette. To make a basic vinaigrette the ratio of oil to vinegar is 3 to 1, and to make a basic french vinaigrette the ratio is 1 part emulsifier, usually dijon mustard, 3 parts vinegar and 9 parts oil. As long as the ratio is correct you’re free to season and flavor your vinaigrette however you like. In the Basic Vinaigrette video the ingredients were simply salt and pepper, citrus juice/zest, vinegar and blended oil. Mark started with the zest, juice and vinegar, then slowly drizzled in the oil while whisking constantly. Oil and vinegar don’t naturally blend, so by whisking constantly you force the vinegar and oil to mix, creating an emulsification. Once emulsified, season your vinaigrette to taste and enjoy.

Citrus Vinaigrette Recipe:
1 tbsp Citrus Juice
1 tsp Citrus Zest
1.5 oz Vinegar
4.5 oz Oil, preferably Olive Oil
To Taste Salt & Pepper