Donna Currie is a Colorado food writer and the creator of Cookistry, a blog full of her original recipes, which balance whimsy with practicality, artistry with kitchen science. In this column, you'll find recipes that minimize fuss and maximize flavor.

Today, Donna creates two approachable dishes from one very animated-looking citrus fruit known as Buddha's hand.


Cooking with Buddha's Hand

Buddha's hand is a very strange-looking citrus. It looks like a yellow, multi-fingered alien hand. Unlike more familiar citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and oranges, Buddha's hand doesn't have any usable juice -- there's no pulp inside. So this type of citrus is all about the zest.

Its flavor is similar to lemon, so if you can't find Buddha's hand, lemon will be just fine. On the other hand, it's so unusual that it's worth trying at least once, if you ever see it.

The following salad makes a great side dish, appetizer, or even a light lunch. For lunch, I might add some cheese. Feta would be good, or mozzarella, if you prefer. This can be served warm, but I actually prefer it chilled.

Artichoke, Asparagus, and Garbanzo Salad

Makes 8 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained
1 bunch asparagus, cut in 1-inch pieces
1-2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup pitted olives
Zest from about 1/4 of a Buddha's hand

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

This pasta uses a little butter, which means it's vegetarian rather than vegan -- but you can certainly use olive oil instead of butter to make this a vegan dish.

Although this pasta is meatless, it's pretty hearty, and the roasted cauliflower adds a rich, roasted flavor. You can cook the cauliflower as much as you like (as long you don't burn it). If you roast it for a long time, you'll have tender cauliflower with some crisp edges and some chewy parts. Roast it for a very short time, and you'll have lightly toasted edges and cauliflower that's still got some crunch. There's no right or wrong way here -- it's up to you.

When I make a pasta dish, I think it makes sense for all the pieces to be bite sized, so a knife isn't needed. Some cauliflower florets are the right size, but the larger ones needed to be cut into smaller pieces. 

Note: I like lemon a lot. If you prefer, start with less lemon juice than the recipe calls for, and add more to taste.

Roasted Cauliflower and Citrus Pasta

Serves 4

1 small head cauliflower
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound dry thin spaghetti
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pinch dried crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons capers
6-8 ounces grape tomatoes
1 teaspoon zest from a Buddha's hand or lemon

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Donna Currie

Like this post? See Donna's previous topic: Two Warming Soups.

Donna is a Colorado food writer and the inventive blogger behind Cookistry. If she's not in the kitchen, she's likely shopping for intriguing new edibles.

donna currie cookistry

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