The Citrus-Based Dust Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten Uses On Meats

Instead of going into the family coal business, Jean-Georges Vongerichten found his true passion at the age of 16 when his parents took him to a three-Michelin-starred restaurant — an experience that the now-celebrated chef described as life-changing in a CBS Saturday Morning interview. Ever since that first encounter with the world of fine dining, Vongerichten has been making tremendous strides as a hospitality industry heavyweight. According to his website, the chef is responsible for the success of 60 restaurants around the globe, including his food hall Tin Building in New York City. But one of his greatest culinary feats might be a special dust that adds an exciting burst of flavor to dishes in a way your taste buds never knew they wanted.

A 2002 review of JoJo, another Vongerichten establishment, in The New York Times describes an appetizer on the restaurant's spring menu as "shrimp dusted in orange powder." What might this mysterious powder be?

Vongerichten's orange dust

Vongerichten is known to season sautéed shrimp with an orange dust that's made from ground orange peels — a part of the fruit that has surprising benefits (via Martha Stewart). The citrusy powder is tangy and sweet, making it a perfect addition to any kind of meat that's been sautéed, broiled, or roasted. In the appetizer at JoJo, the sweetness of the dust was balanced by a pairing of artichokes and arugula (via The New York Times). All these elements combined to showcase sweet, sour, and bitter notes — a flavor profile that's typical of Vongerichten's French-Asian cooking style.

The veteran chef's orange dust is surprisingly easy to make — only two oranges, some sugar, and a little oil are required. The peels are scraped to remove the white pith, simmered in a mixture of sugar and water over heat, and baked until they're completely dry (but not browned). Once the peels are out of the oven and cooled, they are ground up into dust with a spice mill or coffee grinder. If you're in the mood for a lemon or lime dust instead, this method can also be used to make powder from other citrus fruits, per The Irish Times.

After making the dust, be sure to keep it in a tightly sealed container. The ingredient is shelf-stable for the long haul, but its taste will be at optimal level for about two weeks before it slowly loses its potency over time.