Italian Twist on Yuzu

pignoli yuzu gremolata
pignoli yuzu gremolata

Yuzu is a captivating versatile citrus that has been valued in Asian cuisines for centuries. This twist on an Italian condiment employs the yuzu in a fusion-style preparation. The young green yuzu fruit of September has turned a mellow golden yellow. Both the young green and the mature yellow fruits are used in cooking, so we’ve enjoyed fabulous yuzu all through autumn and winter. The rind is very aromatic, the juice is tart. Yuzu adds a striking bright note to vegetables. Its flavors are more complex than lemon – maybe like a combination of grapefruit plus mandarin orange with a hint of sour lime? Pair the zest with pine nuts, garlic, and a pinch of salt  – and this gremolata will brighten up any winter roasted vegetable dish!

winter: citrus salad tree, dwarf kaffir lime, and yuzu

Originally from Southeast Asia, the yuzu does quite well here in my Southern California garden. Due to its cold hardiness, yuzu is one of few citrus trees that can withstand temperatures that dip below freezing. My friends in cooler climes might just consider planting a yuzu too? It needs plenty of sun in both summer and winter, excellent drainage, and regular feeding. It does best in an area out of the wind, and be sure to take into account its long sharp thorns when deciding on placement. Having fresh yuzu on hand is a cook’s true delight.

september: yuzu tree
february: yuzu tree
gremolata, yuzu pignoli
roasted vegetables enhanced with fusion-style gremolata

roasted carrot and parsnip
pignoli yuzu gremolata

Toss vegetables of your choice with olive oil, salt, and pepper then roast in a 425° oven until they begin to caramelize. Meanwhile, zest the yuzu fruit. Chop lightly-toasted pignoli with a garlic clove or two. And a pinch of Kosher salt and the yuzu zest to the pignoli/garlic mixture and chop to combine all the ingredients. Serve roasted veggies sprinkled with pignoli yuzu gremolata. The pignoli add richness, the yuzu adds brightness, and the raw garlic adds intensity to the vegetable dish.

16 thoughts on “Italian Twist on Yuzu”

  1. I was waiting for this post! You have yuzu in YOUR backyard? I am so jealous!!! I usually pay whatever price to get it so I can use it for cooking. We usually use the leftover skins to put in a mesh sack and put it in bath tub for soaking body. It sounds so luxury now as I can’t barely have enough yuzu. I thought of planting my own, but I live on a hill where we get crazy wind from the canyon next to us. You think I can still grow?? Your dish looks delicious…. I need to research a littel more about planting yuzu… We have deer and all kinds of animals from canyon too. Do they eat yuzu? Sorry I am too excited and have too many questions. Anyway going on research a bit…so inspired by you!

    1. YAY, plant it Nami! Although the nursery suggests wind protection, we have wind here too, and it does just fine. Those sharp thorns should help protect it from the critters. Seems like a natural to grow in San Francisco, the temperature is right. Good luck. Please send me photos of your fabulous little tree. And more yuzu recipes 🙂

  2. I feel so deprived. I can only get yuzu in the form of marmalade. Granted it’s very good marmalade. But I am geographically-deprived. This looks refreshing!

  3. Delicious! I am new to Yuzu, but it’s delightful! I LOVE the idea of making a gremolata and pairing with roasted veggies…Bravo! Have a GREAT weekend!

  4. I am pretty sure I have never seen this citrus fruit. It’s certainly nice that you have a tree in your garden. I must be content with kale here 🙂

  5. Love all that yuzu! !! My first yuzu wasn’t yuzu, something else. The second plant died. Hoping 3rd time’s a charm!

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