Citrus fans: Last call for “hyuganatsu”

Regular readers of my column in the Japan Times know I’m a fan of the interesting and unusual citrus fruit to be had in Japan. (I’m thinking in particular my 2009 column about “dekopon”) I’ve got a new favorite but you’re going to have to hurry if you want to try it.

The fruit has a beautiful smooth yellow skin and is called “hyuganatsu” 日向夏. (If that sounds hard to remember, think “Huguenots.”) They are on the market from February to early April, so now is your chance to look for them. To eat a hyuganatsu, you peel off the yellow rind with a knife, leaving most of the pith, which is not at all bitter.

Rough chunks seems to be the standard way to serve the fruit, so you get some of the pith with each bite of fruit.

For a recent dinner birthday party, I put hyuganatsu in a salad. I bought one hyuganatsu per person, and combined it with lettuce, lightly boiled sugar snap peas (which are called “snappu endō” スナックエンドウ in Japanese) and chunks of a really good tomato for color. I served it with a light vinaigrette made with natane oil, French wine vinegar and a pinch of salt. Easy-peasy but very pretty and tasty.

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