As Charity eluded to in her last post, Meyer lemons occupy a league of their own in the citrus realm. They really are quite the most mystical of fruit. They appear lemon-shaped, but with their egg-yolk yellowy-amber hue (I refer to organic eggs!) and more rotund waistlines, they resemble their cousins, the orange. Similarly, their luscious and tart but not astringent flesh, abundant juice, thin, tender skins, and heady floral scent are also quite unlike the quotidian lemon you’ll find in the grocery store. Of course, once you have the facts of the Meyer lemon’s heritage, its dissembling appearance isn’t a mystery at all.
The Meyer lemon is actually a cross between the lemon and the diminutive mandarin. That its pith is barely existent, its juice is bright and piquant without an acerbic bite, its flesh hints at sweetness but its flavor is redolent of the most lemony lemon, renders it a perfect culinary companion in the kitchen. It pairs beautifully with eggs, flour, sugar and butter to make the most luxurious desserts – think tarts, mousses, cakes and custards, yet it also complements vegetables, fish, pork and chicken in stews, braises and roasts or as the star of a chutney or compote to accompany the entree.
In season, January through March, find Meyer lemons in specialty grocers or farmer’s markets. You won’t find them en masse in the supermarkets largely because their thin, fragile skins and excessive juiciness mean that they are highly perishable and prone to damage and spoilage. But of course these are precisely all the reasons why you should buy Meyer lemons if you come across them. Keeping their skins on, chop them up or blitz them in the food processor and add – skin, flesh and all, to cakes, tart fillings or muffins for an amazing lemony hit. The aromatic juice is divine in dressings, sauces or just squeezed over grilled, sautéed or roasted fish. Making a lemon curd – like the recipe featured below, is one of the most fruitful ways to enjoy the Meyer lemon. With this one treasure you can fill cakes and tart shells, enliven whipped cream or thick Greek yogurt and adorn hot toast, English muffins, crepes, and scones. (I made a rather tempting and fast-disappearing Victoria sponge with the curd I whipped up for the photo below. )
If you buy a basketful of lemons and don’t have time to use them up before their pass their best, no matter. Simply juice and zest them, then pour the elixir into a freezer-proof container or zip-loc bag and freeze.
Click ahead for the recipe for Easy-Peasy Meyer Lemon Curd
Easy-Peasy Meyer Lemon Curd
I know this “creaming” method seems utterly crazy, after all we’re making curd not cake, but trust me, it works a treat, and a scramble, separated mess will be a thing of the past. It was something I picked from my stint at Fine Cooking, and I’m sticking to it! You might want to play around with the quantity of lemon juice, sugar and egg yolks until you hit upon a ratio you absolutely love, as I did. The quantities below yield a tangy and not overly sweet but still indulgent curd that’s heaven to my palate so I would definitely give the recipe a go as is.
Yields about 2 1/3 cups
3 oz. butter, softened (that’s 3/4 of a stick)
1 cup sugar
2 large whole egg
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup strained Meyer lemon juice, from about 3 large lemons
1 Tbs finely grated Meyer lemon zest
1. Combine the softened butter and the sugar in a large bowl. Using an electric hand whisk, beat until the mixture is fluffy and very pale – about 3 minutes. Combine the whole eggs and the egg yolks in a small bowl and beat lightly until mixed. Add the egg mixture to the butter and sugar mix and beat for an additional 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and zest and beat again for about 30 seconds. The mixture will split at this point and look terribly scrambled – don’t worry, it’s supposed to.
2. Transfer the mixture to a medium heavy based saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring, the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth. Turn up the heat to medium and continue to cook for about 15 minutes stirring constantly until the curd has thickened, coats the back of a wooden spoons, and reached a temperature of 170F.
3. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for a few minutes. Strain the mixture if you want to – I don’t. I like the curd with the zest still in. Spoon the mixture into a glass jar or a plastic container, leave to cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for up to 7 days.
Click on for a second delicious recipe!
Roast Carrots and Brussels Sprouts with Meyer Lemon and Yogurt Vinaigrette
This makes a wonderful side to go with fish, chicken or pork.
1/3 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halves
1/3 lb carrots, trimmed, scrubbed or peeled and cut into bit-sized 1-inch chunks
2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch chili flakes, optional
1/2 small meyer lemon, end sliced off and chopped into small chances
For the vinaigrette
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs greek yogurt
1-2 Tbs Meyer lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 420F.
2. Combine the Brussels sprouts, carrots, oil, salt, and chili flakes (if using) in a bowl and toss well. Transfer to a roasting pan and roast for 20 mins.
4. Throw the chopped lemon into the roasting pan, mix to combine with the vegetables and continue to cook for an additional 15 minutes or until the sprouts are browned and crispy at the edges, and the carrots tender.
3. Meanwhile, combine the olive oil, yogurt and lemon juice to taste in a bowl and whisk together. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.