What is it?
Beneath the scaly skin of the lychee lies a delicate, juicy, fragrant fruit wrapped around a hard, inedible pit. With a sweet perfumed flavor and a texture a bit like a peeled grape, lychees (or litchis) are prized in many Asian countries, particularly China.
How to choose:
Lychees are readily available in cans, but if you see some fresh ones at the market—Asian markets are a great place to look—don’t pass up the chance to try them. They’re available from May to September.
Choose lychees that feel heavy for their size, with brittle, unblemished, reddish-pink to pinkish-brown skin.
How to prep:
Lychees are easy to peel—just pull the skin away with your fingernails. If eating out of hand, you can pop the peeled fruit into your mouth and spit out the pit, but if you need pitted lychees for a dessert, treat them as you would a peach: Run a paring knife around the pit to halve the fruit and then pry the halves from the pit.
How to store:
Store at room temperature for a few days, or in a plastic bag in the fridge for about two weeks.
In this tropical rendition of the classic French dessert île flottante (floating island), meringues are poached in a mixture of coconut milk and puréed fruit, instead of the traditional custard.
Crushed fresh pineapple infused with mint serves as a refreshing base for summer berries and lychees in this cool parfait. The leftover pineapple syrup would be great in rum cocktails…