When Life Gives You Lemons…
Seriously? It must’ve been the Lime Merchants of America that started comparing lemons to used cars. We have so much more than Lemonade to show for such an amazingly versatile fruit. Fewer foods offer such sensory appeal: the lemon boldly offers its fragrance, bright color, fresh flavor, and a range of sensations on the palate from bitter to slightly sweet to tart and refreshing. From its zesty rind on in, the lemon is a multi-purpose staple of any kitchen that can make its way into almost any meal or refreshing beverage.
So, next time life offers you lemons, zest them, squeeze them, slice one and toss it in your Hefeweizen, bake up a lemon meringue pie…or enjoy a few of these lemon zingers just perfect for a summer evening on the patio:
Grilled Summer Salad
- Your protein of choice: salmon, chicken breasts or thighs, a flank steak, grilled with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Let the dressing do the heavy lifting.
- Bermuda onion, sliced to ¼ inch circles
- Mixed greens
- Radishes, sliced thin (look for watermelon radishes for brilliant color and flavor)
- Summer squash, sliced into quarter inch half circles
- Lemon Vinaigrette (recipe below)
Grill your meat and onions – putting a few nice grill marks on your onions and cooking them to slightly soft, set them aside. Cook your meat to a desired temperature and set it aside. No grill? Use a grill pan and make sure your fan is turned on—waiving a broom at your smoke detector is no way to spend a summer evening.
While your meat is grilling, in a mixing bowl, blend your greens, radishes and squash. Plate your mix. Slice your meat and top it over the salad, then finish with a grilled onion slice on the side and a drizzle of your lemon vinaigrette.
Serve with a lemony rosé, of course. It’s summer.
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
- 3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, mustard, and fine sea salt, whisking until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Add 3 tablespoons of the oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly until the dressing is well blended. Season with fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. If desired, whisk in the remaining oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly.
Limoncello (great gifts!)
Note: This takes a few weeks to prepare. Worth the wait, but plan ahead!
- 10 lemons
- 1 liter vodka
- 3 cups sugar
- 4 cups water
Zest the lemons, and place zest into a large glass bottle or jar. Pour in vodka. Cover loosely and let infuse for one week at room temperature.
After one week, combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Do not stir. Boil for 15 minutes. Allow syrup to cool to room temperature.
Stir vodka mixture into syrup. Strain into glass bottles, and seal each bottle with a cork. Let mixture age for 2 weeks at room temperature.
Place bottled liqueur into the freezer. When icy cold, serve in chilled vodka glasses or shot glasses.