Monday, June 20, 2011

Hollywood’s New IT GIRL, A Dragon?

Just as young woman in Hollywood tend to have their “10 minutes of fame” so does our latest Secret Ingredient: the Dragon Fruit AKA Pitaya. If you frequent the fancy restaurant scene, you have most likely seen this ingredient being added to elite dishes. But it doesn’t stop there, a NY times article last month shows just how far this fame has gone: from transforming normal green tea to a “wellness supplement”, being Sky Vodka’s newest flavor, hitting the Las Vegas restaurant scene, and making a cameo appearance on Bravo’s Top Chef.

Now, we really do not mean to brag (well, maybe a little) here at Your Secret Ingredient, but we have previously told you about a very similar item, the Tuna Fruit, which I became familiar with in Mexico City (perhaps it was underappreciated in its time last year). The Dragon Fruit and the Tuna Fruit are almost like cousins, made from different species of the same general family of Cactus plants. But back to our Dragon Fruit Star…

Why Have You Done a Good Thing?

The dragon fruit is a great low-calorie snack, filled with key vitamin and nutrients. And with all the rich colors and hearty exterior, the edible flesh and seeds are surprisingly mild, less sweet than many fruits. After laboring to peel away the outer skin, the (relatively) small amount of edible flesh and seeds contain antioxidants, iron, B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, and fiber. Although the fruit contains none of these in high amounts, its plethora of benefits sans extra calories makes it a great Bang for your Bite. Plus, did you know that iron and vitamin C work together like “Q” and “U” in Scrabble? That’s right- it makes a better hand (because the vitamin C helps our bodies absorb iron)! Now, as a professional, I must question the radical fame and nutrition “props” that this food is getting. Yes, it is a great choice and a unique fruit, but not more so than most other fruits and veggies out there! So keep that in mind when debating some high process and questionable claims.

Try This Dragon Fruit Salsa at your BBQ Tonight

  • 1 Dragon fruit, chilled in the fridge, flesh and seeds diced.
  • 1 tsp EVOO
  • Lime juice of ½ fresh lime
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients together and serve over grilled sea scallops, grilled halibut, grilled shrimp skewers, etc. The mild flavor of this Secret Ingredient gives you the flexibility to be extremely creative. And please, let us know your creations!

--Samantha Jacobs, MS RD CDN

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