“Assume Nothing!” A mantra for The Crown as we worked towards opening our doors in March of 2019, the phrase became a Menu section, encouraging our visitors to drop their preconceptions and be open to new and delicious experiences. And now, it’s the title of a recipe series, for you to recreate at home. Here’s to a year of assuming nothing!
- 1 cup citrus peels (lemon, lime, orange, buddha’s hand – whatever you’ve got!)
- ½ cup sugar
Wash and peel citruses. Add sugar and stir to incorporate. Let sit at room temperature for 4 hours, then drain through a fine mesh strainer. Squeeze or press on the citrus peels to extract any remaining syrup. Store in refrigeration for up to a month; add to your favorite beverages at will.
If you order an espresso at The Crown, it comes served with a sparkling water back. But these are no ordinary bubbles — our water backs are presented with a small shot of oleo saccharum, giving it a hit of sweet pungent citrus. That sweet kick not only cleanses the palate but may change your perception of the next sip of espresso.
Making oleo saccharum is easy. In fact, the most complicated part is probably figuring out how to use up the discarded citrus fruits. Consider it an opportunity to make lemonade, orange juice, or shrub!
Rinse the citrus thoroughly before starting. I like to submerge them in a lot of water with a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar to clear any critters and remove any residue. After drying them, get to work peeling. In this case, you want only the zest of the fruit, leaving the bitter white pith behind. The size and shape of the zest doesn’t matter too much, but long strips make for quicker work.
Collect your citrus zest in a container and cover with sugar. Refined white sugar works best for this — coarse sugar granules won’t melt properly. The citrus should be thoroughly covered in sugar, but not totally packed in. For reference, we usually add about half the volume of the citrus zest in sugar
Toss the sugar and citrus skin together and let sit at room temperature for at least four hours before draining. At The Crown, we often leave this mixture in the fridge for a couple days before pulling it out and letting it come to room temp.
There should be some syrup collecting in the bottom of your container. The sugar has pulled the essential oils out of the citrus zest, infusing the sugar with its aroma and flavor. If the syrup is too thick, or there are still some granules of sugar that haven’t dissolved, toss a couple tablespoons of warm water in to loosen everything up. Pour the contents through a fine mesh strainer, making sure to squeeze or mash the peels to extract any leftover syrup.
It might seem like a small yield for the amount of citrus zest used, but this lemon oil packs a punch! At the Crown we only use about a ¼ tbsp for each water back, so one batch lasts us a week or two at least. Add to your favorite cocktail, give your juice an extra punch, or just put it in sparkling water to spruce up your bubbles!