This next blogger is a relatively new friend of mine. I had the pleasure of working with her on last summer's AFBA Cupcakes & Cocktails fundraising event. During one of our committee meetings, the subject of Meyer lemons came up and she swooned over them. Being that she cooks quite a bit of Persian cuisine, I had a feeling she would be a perfect choice to guest write for the 12 Days of Meyers. I love that she decided to stretch her lemons out and try a whole bunch of recipes from sweet to savory. Michelle's blog Beyond Picket Fences explores a lot of Middle Eastern foods. In fact, she scouted out a bunch of Persian restaurants here in Austin for the AFBA City Guide. She loves baking and cooking for friends and family. I hope you enjoy her Meyer dishes as much as I have.
The Meyer Lemon Fairy, (aka Kristina of Girl Gone Grits) bestowed a large box of delicious, bright yellow, juicy Meyer lemons upon me a few weeks ago and I have been in a lemon frenzy ever since. My Vitamin C intake has dramatically increased, which is good since cold and flu season hit me hard. I decided to make a few special lemony recipes, but mainly I substituted the Meyers for other acids I use regularly, with delicious results!
Meyers are less tart that your average lemon and, to me, have a more complex citrus flavor than standard lemons you find at the grocery store. They work really well in sweets, but I used them primarily in savory dishes over the past few weeks. I made a lot of things with the Meyers. I may have gone a little overboard, but I’m not complaining. Here is an abbreviated listed of what I made:
Braised leg of lamb with Meyer lemons and pomegranate
Roasted red snapper with Meyer lemons and fennel
Meyer lemon and balsamic salad dressing
Meyer lemon meringue pie
As you can see, I’ve had a tasty past few weeks. The lamb was the biggest hit. We made it for Christmas dinner and I’m sure it’s going to become our regular Christmas meal going forward. Melt in your mouth lamb with the sweet and sour of the pomegranate complemented by the brightness of the Meyer lemons. Yum! I used this great recipe from BBC Good Food. I adjusted it slightly and added the lemon zest as well as the juice to the recipe, which was a noticeable improvement.
The Meyers worked really well with the red snapper. So often lemon can take over the taste of fish, but in this case the flavors blended perfectly. I made the fish up very simply with olive oil, Meyer lemon slices, fresh fennel (bulb and fronds), and salt. I roasted it in a 375 degree oven covered at first and then finished it uncovered for the last few minutes to brown. Perfect, flakey, lemony fish!
The salad dressing is of my own creation. I whisked ¼ cup of Meyer lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, ½ cup of olive oil, and salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Mix in a bowl and whisk until emulsified. I used it to dress a simple salad of spinach, arugula, cremini mushrooms and fresh chevre.
I most recently made a lemon meringue pie. I couldn’t find my grandmother’s recipe and the only ingredients I remembered from hers were lemons and condensed milk, so I googled all of the lemon pie recipes that have condensed milk in them and found this great one from Paula Deen. I doubled the amount of zest she listed and I’m glad I did. So tart and sweet and refreshing! I have to admit, I’m pretty proud of that pie. One word of advice: let the pie set properly in the fridge before you do the meringue. If you don’t, the pie will be a bit runny. Still delicious, but not very pretty. It didn’t stop me from enjoyed three slices of it, though.
I think the best part of my Meyer mania was figuring out how versatile this fruit is. I found myself squeezing a bit of lemon juice on just about everything or always zesting a lemon into every dish I made. This lemon risotto recipe from Nigella Lawson I just found is set to be the last hurrah of my Meyers. I’m down to my last couple of lemons and I think I’m about to go into withdrawal. They’ve become such a great addition to my kitchen.