Meyer Lemons

Meyer Lemons

Our friend Whitney just texted with a photo of a bucket of Meyer lemons and wondered if we had any clever ideas of what they could be used for. I told her I had serveral as our Meyer lemon tree produced a prodigious crop this year, as well. I suggested three cocktails, one preservation technique and three recipes to use the preserved lemons:

Cocktails

  • The always-solid classic choice: A Side Car. The only change I would make with Meyer lemons is to back off the Cointreau to 3/4 oz instead of 1 oz.
  • The easy-but-lovable: Whiskey Sour. 1 oz. Meyer lemon juice, 1/2 oz. simple syrup (1:1) and 2 oz. of bourbon (we use Evan Williams; any decent/not great bourbon is fine).
  • A relatively new horse in the race: the Fitzgerald. I served this on a ski trip I recently took with great friends to Breckenridge, CO. Again, I would go 1 oz. Meyer lemon juice and 1/2 oz. simple syrup.

Preserved Lemons

This is a technique I first got from my friend ELsie, but had a great write up in the New York Times. Basically, you almost quarter a lemon from top to about 1/2″ from the bottom. Into the still connected quarter you put kosher salt (a tablespoon or so). Place the lemon and salt into a Mason jar. keep adding salted lemons until the jar is full and pack a couple of more in to squeeze out some of the juices. Cover with a lid. Invert the jar a couple of times every few days for 3-4 weeks to mix the juices and salt. The lemons are good after a couple of weeks, but will keep and improve for at least a year.

To use, remove a lemon, scrape out and discard the seeds and the pulp of the lemon. Finely chop the rind a pith and add it where intense lemon flavor is wanted.

Preserved Lemon Recipes

Honey-roasted Chicken Breasts with Preserved Lemon and Garlic

This recipe comes from the Lodge Cast Iron Nation cookbook.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 preserved lemon, cut into quarters, flesh cut away from the rind and discarded (use only the rind)
  • 1/4 cup good-quality honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 10 garlic cloves, crushed and halved

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 375° F.
  • Season the chicken with the salt and pepper, and sprinkle the cumin both under and on the skin. Carefully tuck 2 quarters of preserved lemon rind under the skin of each breast. Pour the honey under and over the top of the skin of each.
  • Heat a Lodge 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes (you want to get the skin really crunchy and brown). Add the oil and butter to the skillet; when the oil is hot and the butter melted, add the chicken, skin side down. Arrange the garlic in the pan so the cloves all make contact with the bottom. Cook for 5 minutes, then turn the chicken, skin side up, and transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear, about 25 minutes.
  • Remove the skillet from the oven, and let the chicken cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Serve the chicken cut off the bone with all of the caramelized garlic pieces and the thick sauce underneath it.

Two other recipe ideas:

  1. Add preserved lemons to hummus.
  2. Add preserved lemons to basil pesto.

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