Why Daniel Boulud Adds Citrus To Almost Every Dish

There's nothing better on a sweltering summer day than a beautiful meal crafted with notes of citrus. The sharp, refreshing acidity of oranges, grapefruits, and lemons perfectly capture the bright joys of the season, and seem to compliment just about every dish at the table. There's no reason for citrus to be reserved for summer cooking though. There are plenty of ways to use the bright colors of citrus so it can be a permanent mainstay in your kitchen all year long.

Adding a spritz of citrus is a favorite finishing technique of celebrity chef Daniel Boulud. The Lyon-born restaurateur is well known throughout the culinary world for his two-Michelin-star-rated flagship, Daniel, in New York City. He has also opened other restaurants across the United States and throughout the world, was named the "Best Restaurateur in the World" by Les Grande Tables du Monde last year, and has become the embodiment of French gastronomy to many people (via France24). He recently hosted an SPG/Marriott Rewards Moment experience dinner where he shared some of his kitchen wisdom with guests like Reader's Digest writer Melissa Klurman. Boulud also reiterated his love of citrus fruits during the experience.

Citrus adds a needed zing to any dish

Daniel Boulud explains that he loves citrus fruits for their ability to add contrast to a dish. Boulud says the zest or juices from oranges, lemons, and grapefruits can bring out the zing in any dish. For example, the unexpectedly sweet Meyer lemon adds contrast to the spicy wasabi in a tuna appetizer served at the chef's namesake restaurant, Daniel, reports Reader's Digest.

Epicurious notes that most people reach for citrus when they want to add a bright or sour flavor to their dish, but it can also be used to enhance other flavors without adding tartness. This is due to the seemingly magical effects of citrus' naturally light acidity. It also serves as a great contrast to creamy or fatty summer staples like cole slaw, pulled pork, and ranch dressing.

It is important to note that it's best to add citrus at the end of preparation. Epicurious explains that cooking citrus could cause a different and more distinct effect. To enhance your dish, try using a spritz of citrus just before serving to brighten the other flavors without overpowering them– much like adding a finishing salt, for instance. Food and Nutrition also points out that the added vitamin C can boost the absorption of iron from plant-based foods, making it a healthy addition as well.