Layers of Flavor: Zesting

There are so many recipes these days that call for the zest of citrus fruit. It may seem like a completely unnecessary kitchen tool but I highly suggest anyone to invest in a good quality microplane (see above). I think zest can be one of the layers of flavor you can add to a dish (whether that be a dessert or a savory pasta dish!). When I was in culinary school we learned about having layers of flavor. What does this mean? It means when you are going about making a recipe, you want to impart as many kinds of flavor as you can while creating that dish. Remember, we have the ability to taste sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami, so take advantage of each! This will prevent your dish from falling flat on taste (you know how sometimes when you cook and it is kind of bland?).

For example, when making a pasta dish with a creamy sauce, you could add flavor to the following steps:

  • Add salt (or dried herbs) to boiling water for pasta noodles
  • When sautéing vegetables for pasta, add salt, pepper, herbs or zest) to veggies
  • Maybe the base of salt isn’t enough and a splash of a concentrated broth (or bouillon cube) will help elevate it
  • Add a little (vegan) butter to your sauce for richness
  • Maybe it needs a little bit of tang of acidity so a splash of vinegar might be the ticket (I usually prefer apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar), wine, citrus juice or (vegan) sour cream
  • Giving your cream sauce a small zesting of whole nutmeg (can be the “secret ingredient”!).
  • Finishing your dish with some finely chopped fresh herbs and/or citrus zest can complete a dish.
  • Or a final layer of vegan parmesan cheese to top (to give you those salty, umami-like, garlic notes), and another use for your zester!

The above is what I am talking about when I say layers of flavor. This is my favorite tool to use for zesting and I think it could be a fantastic addition to your kitchen tool set. I have included a smaller and bigger microplane depending on what kind of space you have (I will most cases always go for the bigger model of things…even in my teeny kitchen).

  • The Best Microplane to put Zest into your life
  • The Best Larger Microplane to put Zest into your life
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