🍋Lemon Up: Three Simple Recipes that Add Zest to Your Spring Menus🍋
Contributing Writer: Nancy Kelly
Spring is here, and with its longer, warmer days comes the urge to lighten up in other ways. Your body begins to crave fresh, quickly prepared foods in place of the slow-cooked robust fare so comforting in colder months. One versatile ingredient can ease your kitchen transition from winter to spring. The next time you're in the grocery aisle, toss a few lemons into your cart. Fresh lemons and fresh lemon juice instantly perk up your menus and add a bright taste to your recipes.
In addition to the bright yellow, oval-shaped lemons you've probably also noticed Meyer lemons in your grocery store. Meyer lemons are an orangey yellow and somewhat rounder in shape than standard lemons. Some say the juice of a Meyer lemon is sweeter, but that's a matter of personal taste. They are worth seeking out, however, because they are definitely juicier--so if your recipe calls for a lot of juice, you get more bang for your buck with Meyer lemons. No matter which variety you prefer, look for lemons with bright, shiny skin that feel heavy in proportion to their size. Unless you plan to use your lemons right away, refrigerator them--they'll last longer. Do remember, though, to pull them out of the refrigerator so that they come to room temperature using them in a recipe. You'll get more juice that way.
Here are some quick ways to use lemons, a great source of Vitamin C, B vitamins, and potassium, to freshen up your spring fare.
This hearty salad makes a great main course for lunch. Add some roasted chicken or shrimp, and you have a satisfying and healthy dinner. The candied lemon peel and dressing give it a lively sweet-tart taste.
Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a salad course.
1 pound baby spinach leaves
2 eggs, hard-boiled, whites roughly chopped, yolks reserved
1 bunch scallions, sliced, white parts only
½ cup canned diced carrots
½ cup tiny peas, frozen or canned
1/3 cup fresh candied lemon peel, large dice (recipe below)
Freshly ground sea salt and pepper
1. Place lettuce leaves in a large bowl; gently top with remaining salad ingredients.
2. Add Lively Lemon Dressing (recipe below) to taste and toss gently but thoroughly.
3. Top with a few grinds each sea salt and pepper
🍋Lively Lemon Dressing🍋
2 hard-boiled egg yolks
2 teaspoons sugar
Several grinds coarse black pepper
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice; do not substitute bottle juice
1. Mash egg yolks.
2. Add sugar and pepper and mix well.
3. Add olive oil and mix well.
4. Add lemon juice and shake until emulsified.
5. Taste and adjust seasonings.
6. Refrigerate leftover dressing. Will keep for one week.
🍋Candied Lemon Peel🍋
This versatile recipe yields a candy, a condiment, or a surprise ingredient in recipes such as Spinach-Lemon Salad. It is easy to make and easy to eat.
Three large, firm lemons; Meyer lemons not recommended for this recipe
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
1. Peel the lemons; leave the pith on the peel. Reserve juice for other uses.
2. Cut the peels into strips of various lengths.
3. In a medium pot, cover the strips in water, bring to a boil for two to three minutes. Repeat for a total of three boils.
4. In a smaller pot, bring the sugar and two cups of water to a boil, and boil until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is clear.
5. Add the strips of peel, return to boil, then lower heat and continue to cook until the white pith is translucent.
6. Remove strips from syrup, drain, and let cool of sheets of waxed paper.
1. While still warm, roll in sanding (coarse-grained) sugar.
2. Dip cooled strips into melted chocolate.
NOTE: Store the cooled syrup in the refrigerator and use as a lemony substitute for simple syrup in your favorite drink recipes.
These are versatile recipes. Use a tablespoon of Lively Lemon Dressing over a broiled fish filet to perk up its flavor. Garnish with lemon zest. The dressing is also good as a quick marinade for chicken breasts and shrimp. Candied lemon peel is a pretty garnish for cakes, cupcakes, and cocktails.
Always keep a few lemons on hand--you'll never run out of ideas to use them, and they'll brighten up the taste of your recipes when you do.