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Serving Up Citrus

Tags:  Ingredient Spotlight  |  Our People  |  Seasonal  |  Sweet

Colorful, enticing citrus fruits like clementines, Key limes and tangelos add unmistakable flavor to hot and cold dishes alike, whether they’re juiced, candied, preserved or served fresh. Fragrant, tangy, zesty and tart—the list of mouthwatering menu descriptors goes on and on!

While most patrons are familiar with common varieties of oranges, lemons and limes, a world of unique citrus exists beyond the staples. Yuzu, pomelo and calamansi, for example, are perfect for bringing bright flavor to global cuisine, cocktails, desserts and more.

Get specific with menu callouts (i.e. Cara Cara orange zest or Meyer lemon curd) and experiment with technique (charred grapefruit, pickled lime chutney or blood orange syrup) to play up the natural flavors of citrus and create even more appetite appeal.

Meyer Lemon Curd 


Give your menu a boast with a unique entrée featuring citrus-driven flavor pairings.
Click here for full recipe.


Showcase the versatility of citrus fruit across your menu, from marinades to finishing sauces. Give these recipes a try, all featuring citrus-based products from Custom Culinary®.

Florida Grouper with Mandarin Orange Hollandaise

Orange Beer-Battered Fish Sandwich with Harissa Tartar Sauce
A deep-fried orange and beer-battered cod fillet on a toasted brioche bun, dressed with bibb lettuce and a zesty tartar sauce made with Custom Culinary® Gold Label Harissa.
View Recipe

Florida Grouper with Mandarin Orange Hollandaise
Grouper fillets simmered in Custom Culinary® Gold Label Fish Base, served with a Mandarin orange hollandaise made with Gold Label Hollandaise Sauce.

Latin Citrus Chili Flatbread Pizza
A rustic flatbread topped with True Foundations® Latin-Style Citrus Chili Sauce-infused pizza sauce, grilled chicken, red onion, thinly sliced serrano peppers and Mexican melting cheese.
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Serve up the flavors of Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and South America with bold, ready-to-use products from Custom Culinary®.

Meyer Lemon London Fizz

Meyer Lemon London Fizz
Earl grey tea steeped with gin, blended with sweet, refreshing Custom Culinary® Meyer Lemon Curd* and finished with club soda, charred spruce and a candied lemon twist.

Coal-fired Seabass and Citrus
A whole black seabass stuffed with blood orange, garlic, tomatoes, cilantro and parsley, charred over an open coal fire grill. Served over tabbouleh and finished with Custom Culinary® Blood Orange Beurre Blanc* and fresh cracked pink peppercorns.

Yuzu Chicken Katsu Sando
A panko-crusted fried chicken breast cutlet brushed with Custom Culinary® Yuzu Serrano Honey Glaze*, piled on a toasted brioche bun with tangy shredded cabbage slaw and kewpie mayo. Served with house chips tossed in Yuzu Serrano Honey Glaze.

Pickled Cuban Flatbread
Bone-in pork shoulder marinated overnight in Custom Culinary® Achiote Grapefruit Mojo*, then slow-roasted in its own juiced. Pulled and served on a grilled flatbread with pickled Cara Cara orange, crumbled queso fresco and fresh dill; finished with a sprinkle of fermented mustard seeds.

Roasted Vegetable Lime Curry
Custom Culinary® Makrut Lime Green Curry Paste* blended with coconut milk and folded with ember-roasted tofu, grilled Thai eggplant, shredded bamboo shoots, carrots, baby corn and red onion. Served over white rice with green onion and slivered lemongrass.

Chef's Perspective: When Life Gives You Citrus

When I was a kid, especially around Christmas, my mother used to take my brothers and me to a small farm stand called “The Orange Cart.” Nothing too out of the ordinary, except they did sell some exceptionally sweet and delicious citrus. I loved navel oranges the most, that is, until I discovered kumquats. I think I thought it was cool that you could pop the whole thing in your mouth, like grapes, peels, and all. I also thought I was “cool at school” as I was eating something at the highly judgmental lunch table that no one else had ever heard of. This honestly was one of the earliest indicators to me that food meant something more to me beyond nutrition and satiation. It was also the first time I concluded that trying new things was not “ICKY” but worth the risk.

I took my first fine dining job in a small classical French Restaurant at a pretty young age, working after school and on weekends. Back then, Duck a l’Orange and lemon juice in hollandaise sauce were my exposure to the value of citrus in food. Since then, as my culinary knowledge, experience, and culinary prowess grew, I truly began to harness the power and versatility of citrus and explore using some of the less common fruits outside of oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit. As my career continued to unfold, I was blessed with the opportunity to travel globally, which really opened my eyes regarding these tropical wonders far beyond what I thought I knew.

The influence of globally inspired cuisine has truly changed citrus-inspired menu offerings of late, bringing many new varieties to bear, which are healthy, versatile, exotic, and intriguing. Citrus fruits like yuzu, naranja agria, calamansi, pomelos, key limes, mandarins and a dozen tangerine varieties to name only a few. Chefs and mixologists alike are having fun exploring the subtle flavors and are investing a lot of time in exploiting citrus, taking full advantage of the bittersweetness and tart, juicy jolt the fruits offer.

Back to Duck a l’Orange and Kumquats for a minute… I never entirely understood Duck a l’Orange. Wild game has always been a passion for me, and I love duck. I pine for its unique savory flavor and the impact its rich fat plays into its taste with properly crisped skin. Therefore, in my mind, masking that flavor by smothering it with an overly sweet orange glaze laced with Grand Marnier just never did it for me. I always preferred duck accented with a more savory sauce option like green peppercorn. Then, I ate at one of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurants, which served duck breast with a touch of kumquat chutney, and my opinion was realigned. The bittersweetness of this beautiful citrus and the fact that every bite wasn’t smothered, or should I say the flavor was not masked, really worked. The chutney appropriately complimented it perfectly. It also took me back to my childhood memories of kumquats making an emotional connection. Now, that is my type of comfort food!Duck a L’Orange

One of my favorite products in the Custom Culinary® branded line is our Gold Label Latin-Style Citrus Chili Sauce. It is an achiote-based sauce with strong undertones of black pepper and orange. I love it because it's uniquely delicious, vibrant in color, and, most of all, versatile. The citrus pop adds so much to this sauce in an undefinable way. I’ve mixed it at a 50/50 ratio with our Gold Label Demi-Glace to braise beef and pork (yum!), I’ve glazed Cedar cedar-planked salmon with it and even mixed it with seasoned rice wine vinegar to make a truly exceptional vinaigrette. I recommend you try not only the Gold Label Latin-Style Citrus Chili Sauce but also some of our other products that rely on the greatness of citrus. Get a sample of our Thai Style Vegetable Broth, which is laced with fresh lime, or our Gold Label Harissa, which counts on fresh lemon to drive its truly authentic profile. I am wholly confident that you will not only enjoy playing with these products but that the creations you conjure up will add tremendous flavor to your menu.

Guess what I’m having for dinner. I got so worked up writing about Duck with Kumquat Chutney I’m off to the market now to get my mise en place ready. I wonder if the kids will like it as much as me… NOT! I guess they will think it’s “ICKY”.

Good cooking always,
Michael Smith, WCMC, CEC, AAC


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*Products are customized; please contact your Custom Culinary® representative for more information.