Australian finger limes
A Wow! of a new ingredient to come across my radar.
I’m less excited by foreign exotic ingredients and the latest culinary fashions these days, mostly because over the years, I’ve come to realize that they are usually a flash in the pan, and of course because my day-to-day is largely focused on local and wild. Nevertheless, it’s hard not to be wooed by this little specimen, a rare rainforest fruit at that.
A thin oval shaped citrus fruit, firm and thick skinned, going from greenish black to reddish brown when ripe, it holds a hundred plus of these golden caviar-like globules that taste like pink grapefruit and rhubarb. Bittersweet and more acidic than sweet, but aromatic and fresh, gorgeous. Unlike alginate or other seaweed derived spheres, these little bubbles are naturally robust and bursting with flavour; only nature can produce something so simply beautiful.
All there is to do is cut the baby in half and squeeze some ‘caviar’ onto seafood or chopped salads. I added some to a cucumber herb salsa for fish and sprinkled some into a crab and shrimp salad. In an olive, fresh cheese and roasted pepper salad, it also added a nice touch - zip and surprise. I can imagine it being very winner in a cocktail. The textural contrast is as pleasing as the bright citrus flavour. With every odd bite, you get a crunch of explosive citrus zing.
I really love it. Three dollars a pop at Chez Louis, they aren’t cheap, but one will really punch up a dinner for two or four, so not more expensive than any other luxury ingredient that is used as a flourish – say a fine olive oil or aged balsamic or cheese or shaving of truffle.