Sunday, December 28, 2008

Budda's Hand

"Buddha's Hand from ideas in food

BuddhashandconfitureWe saw the Buddha's Hand in Fairway and for a change I was the one throwing caution and price tags to the wind by adding the fruit to our cart. It's an interesting citrus, known for its extraordinarily fragrant skin and for the fact that the pith is not supposed to be bitter. I've always wanted to play with it and so I jumped at the opportunity.

The first incarnation was this citrus confit. I used a mandolin to thinly slice the fruit. Then I blanched it to remove any lingering trace of bitterness in the pitch. I have to say though that the Buddha's hand lived up to its reputation for sweet, juicy pith. The bitter aftertaste was minimal and pleasant, although since we were using it for a dessert I blanched it anyway. Then I cooked it down with a pinch of salt in just enough 1:1 simple syrup to cover the slices. Once it was tender and translucent I took it off the heat and added a cinnamon stick for that extra something. The cooked Buddha's Hand was delicious, fragrant and melting, with an ethereal flavor that lingered on the palate and made you wish for just a little bit more. We paired it with chocolate and olives. There's still half a hand left, who knows what we'll do next."

Other folks are not so kind and suggest it is more of a novelty suitable for a centerpiece or aromatic.

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