Capturing California Citrus

By D.J. Costantino

By

D.J. Costantino
Chef Ray Hayashi's Santa Barbara Spot Prawn, Uni, Tosazu Vinegar, Oro Blanco, Prawn Head, Yuzu Oil, and Shiso
Chef Ray Hayashi's Santa Barbara Spot Prawn, Uni, Tosazu Vinegar, Oro Blanco, Prawn Head, Yuzu Oil, and Shiso

Ray Hayashi spent a year at such esteemed Kyoto restaurants as Michelin-starred Aji Fukushima and three Michelin-starred, four-century-old Hyotei. Back in the States, Hayashi is heading up research and development for mentor David LeFevre’s restaurants, infusing the restaurant group with fresh ideas. One nugget he brought from Japan is a technique for making potent citrus oil. Hayashi soaks peak-season yuzu rinds in vodka before pouring the liquid into a double boiler. To that mix he adds a neutral oil and gently simmers the mixture until the alcohol evaporates. The result is a clear, clean, pure citrus oil that he gingerly drops onto a plate of spot prawn, uni, tosazu vinegar, oro blanco, and shiso. Hayashi’s adopted technique captures the micro-seasons of California citrus, dispensing their fleeting aromas and flavors one droplet at a time.

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