In the house where I grew up, lemons were for cooking.
Limes were for cocktails.
My parents, like many suburbanites in the 1950s, hosted more after-dinner parties than dinner parties. Out came the card tables, the mixed nuts, and the mixed drinks. The game of choice was bridge, and the bar stood ready to provide any type of liquid refreshment. A bowl of lime wedges sat next to the ever-present ice bucket.
Apart from those occasions, I never saw limes in my mother's kitchen. (Lime Jell-o doesn't count.)
In my own, however, limes play an essential role in the Asian and Mexican cooking I love to do.
What are limes?
Limes are small, round, citrus fruits, with green skins and green flesh. Choose limes that feel heavy for their size, with thin skins; they'll have the most juice.
How/where to store?
On the countertop for one week, or in the refrigerator for two or three weeks (in a plastic bag).
More facts about limes, and ingredient photos, on The Perfect Pantry:
Limes (Recipe: Mexican tortilla and lime soup)
Salmon croquettes with sesame-lime sauce
My maternal grandmother could turn anything into a croquette. I loved her tuna patties and dreaded the ones made from frozen mixed vegetables. Asian flavors weren't part of her repertoire, but you'll love those flavors in these croquettes, adapted from Fresh Flavor Fast by Everyday Food. A squirt of lime on top really gives them zing. Makes 8-10 small croquettes; serves 4-5 as an appetizer.
1 large scallion, trimmed, cut into large pieces
2 shallots, peeled
2 Tbsp finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1-1/2 lbs skinless salmon fillet, cut into chunks
1 large egg
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 small scallions, trimmed, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp sesame oil
2-3 tsp canola oil
1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, add the scallions, shallots, and ginger. Pulse until everything is finely minced. Add the salmon, egg, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and pulse until the fish is finely chopped and everything is well combined.
To test for seasoning, fry a tiny piece of the salmon mixture in a tiny bit of canola oil in a frying pan over medium heat until browned on both sides. Taste, and adjust the mixture in the food processor with salt, pepper, or pepper flakes, to taste. Then, form the salmon mixture into eight or ten patties, place on a plate, and freeze for 20 minutes.
While the croquettes are chilling, make the sauce: In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, scallions, lime juice and sesame oil. Cover and chill until the croquettes are cooked (you can do this up to 3 hours in advance).
Take the croquettes out of the freezer. Heat the canola oil in a large nonstick frying pan. Fry the croquettes (in two batches, if necessary), over medium heat, until browned on both sides and just opaque throughout, approximately 4 minutes on the first side and 3 minutes on the second side.
Serve with the sesame-lime sauce and extra lime wedges.
Other recipes that use limes:
Lime-mango sorbet, from Simply Recipes
Chipotle-lime salmon, from Elana's Pantry
Lime pickle, from Mahanandi
Lime meringue tart, from David Lebovitz
Lime French toast, from Inn Cuisine
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