things to eat: buddha's hand 4 ways
It was love at first sight, in the aisle of a bougie grocery store. I was but young and extremely bundled; it was bright and cheery and among its own kind. And there, under the fluorescent lighting, next to generic oranges and exotic passionfruit, I saw the buddha's hand, and reader, I took it home immediately.
That first purchase, my treasure seemed so precious truthfully I think we used it as a fantastic tablepiece, a newfangled bouquet for the modern kind.
But this year, we did some research: buddha's hand is one of the oldest forms of citrus -- the color of a lemon but with no flesh, juice, or seeds, and very slightly floral scent. Both it's zest and pith are delicious.
And so it was time to put it to use.
Infused into drinks
Peel long strips (or as long as you can get them) of the skin and throw them into the booze of your choice. We went with gin and vodka. Leave in jar/s as long as you like, at least a few weeks. Then mix into cocktails as you see fit.
Candied into desserts
David Tanis has a recipe for candied citron which looks lovely, but seemed like it would require slightly more energy than we had going. Instead, we used several arms for a much simpler version as part of Gjelina's panna cotta with citruses (the quick pickling of candying, if you will). It was as simple as cubing up the buddha's hand, pith and all, then tossing it into a pot with sugar.
Zested into salads
There's nothing nicer than a little shaving of lemon zest onto a simple salad of butter lettuces or escarole, maybe tossed with a little ricotta salata or fresh herbs. Replace lemon with buddha's hand (it zests a little funnily, but persevere!), and it's the same but different.
A la yuzu
And finally - we threw it into dashi as a yuzu substitute and it might be the most delightful of all. Clear broth with just a touch of something more. Eat as a cleansing starter, or toss in soba, mushrooms, and steamed spinach for a winter night.