Lemons need our help.
For generations, we've named our faulty cars and appliances after them, a metaphor for a bitter experience or a general state of disappointment.
I don't know about you, but I've never met a real-life lemon that caused anything but squeals of joy; the aroma and flavor brighten up even the most uninspired dishes, everything from fish to salads to yogurt cake. In high school, my friends and I rubbed cut lemons on our hair, to add highlights. (It worked. Sort of.) Lemons never let me down.
So, I propose we let lemons off the hook. No more negative connotation, no more Peter, Paul and Mary tunes. From now on, when I end up with a toaster that always burns the toast, or a lawn mower that doesn't mulch, I'm going to call it a cauliflower, because that's what personifies a bitter experience for me.
Here in The Perfect Pantry, I've featured lemons five times, and in dozens of recipes. In fact, the very first recipe on this blog, garlic chicken on skewers, started me on a career as a food writer more than twenty years ago. (You can go back to the beginning and read the story.) Lemon loves to balance the fattiness of proteins, in a move so subtle you don't really even notice how hard it's working, in dishes like these:
- Grilled lamb with lemon and garlic
- Panko and mustard crusted fish
- Salmon tikka
- Shrimp, lemon, herb and feta macaroni and cheese
- Brick grilled chicken thighs
- Salmon tagine with chermoula
- Grilled tikka-masala-style chicken
Salads, vegetables and pasta dishes kissed by the flavor of lemon are perfect for picnics or potluck:
- Salmon, asparagus and lemon pasta
- Broccoli, basil and pasta salad
- Cold curried orzo
- Moroccan carrot salad
- Lemon onion hummus
- Roasted potatoes with lemon thyme vinaigrette
- Zucchini with golden raisins, pine nuts and lemon
- Sweet potato, lentil and raisin stew
- Grilled vegetables with piment d'Espelette sauce
Lemon and yogurt, especially Greek yogurt, seem to go hand-in-hand in both sweet and savory dishes:
- Lemon-yogurt waffles
- Lemon walnut yogurt dessert
- Green beans with lemon dill yogurt sauce
- Composed salad with lemon yogurt dressing
- Whole wheat lemon-lime yogurt cupcakes
Desserts made with lemon leave your mouth feeling clean and tingly:
- Lemon lavender cookies
- Lemon currant biscotti
- Lemon thyme cornmeal cookies
- Lemon tea cake
- Honey and lemon green tea cupcakes
- Carrot cake cupcakes with lemon frosting
- Fresca cake
And, of course, there's summer sangria. Need I say more?
Store whole lemons in a bowl on the kitchen counter for one week, or in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
Use the search box on the right (up near the top of this page) to find more recipes and fun facts about lemons in The Perfect Pantry.
What do you make with lemons? Have you tried Meyer lemons or other varieties?
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