Monday, February 18, 2008
Sunny Meyer Lemon
We are at the peak of Meyer lemon season here and they can be found perking up in Farmers markets, backyards ,and California groves.
While going through my favorite organic vegetables and fruits booth at Saturday Temecula Farmers markets, I noticed some Meyer lemons. They have been popular lately in any kitchens and cuisine. I really love these plum, smooth-skinned lemons with canary yellow, color of the sun at noon.
Origin and description
The Meyer lemon (Citrus × meyeri) is a citrus fruit, native to China, thought to be a cross between a true lemon and a mandarin orange or sweet orange. The Meyer lemon was introduced to the United States in 1908 , by the agricultural explorer Frank Meyer, an employee of the United States Department of Agriculture who collected a sample of the plant on a trip to China. IIt became popular as a food item in the United States after being rediscovered by chefs, such as Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, during the California Cuisine revolution. Meyer lemons are reasonably hardy, but grow well in a warm climate. They are also fairly vigorous and by the mid 1940s the Meyer lemon had become widely grown in Southern California.
Do you know?
The Meyer lemon boasts of its high vitamin C content -- one regular-sized lemon supplies about 30 percent of an average person's daily requirement. Meyer Lemon is essential not only in stimulating appetite and aiding digestion, but also in promoting the absorption of calcium and iron from natural foods.
When buying lemons, choose the ones that are smallish, heavy for their size, shiny. Fresh and firm lemons will last several weeks inside the refrigerator.
Meyer Lemon do not travel well, this is why you find them at your local food markets.
If you plan to use the skin for cooking or for making marmalade and lemon zest sprinkles, choose lemons that are certified organic. If unsure of the fruit's origin, choose the un-waxed batch and remember to wash and scrub them before slicing or peeling.
Since I discovered them, I have used Meyer lemons in most of my Cooking Classes featured here in Murrieta/ Temecula, and most of my students never tasted or seen any, my advice : Meyer lemons, get them while you can!
Here are the top 20 things to do with a Meyer lemon.
1. Make Meyer lemonade. using 2/3 cup juice to 1/4 cup sugar and 2 cups water
2. Make Morrocan Chicken Tajine with Meyer lemons, olives and fennel
3.Candy the peel, dusting with superfine sugar.
4. To a risotto made with mascarpone and Parmesan, add some grated Meyer lemon peel.
5. Rub a Meyer lemon peel around the rim of a demitasse of espresso.
6. Meyer lemon-almond cake
7. Make classic preserved lemons by filling a Mason jar with quartered Meyer lemons, one-fourth cup of kosher salt and enough lemon juice to cover, and letting them sit in your refrigerator for three weeks.
8. Grate Meyer lemon peel into a bowlful of Chantilly cream.
9. Arrange thin slices of Meyer lemons on a pizza crust topped with goat cheese, rosemary and olives.
10. Make Meyer lemon curd. ( see my recipe in this article)
11. Meyer lemon sorbet-ice cream
12. couscous salad with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette: olive oil, Meyer lemon juice, minced shallot, Dijon, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
13. granita? Just make fresh lemonade, pour it into a casserole dish and freeze, scraping it occasionally with a fork until it’s . . . a granita.
14. Lemon rice salad with spring asparagus would be too.
15. lemon pasta
16. in a lemon-ricotta cake
17. freeze the juice in ice cube trays and then put them into a zip lock until you figure out what you want to do with them
18. Meyer lemon marmalade
19. Meyer lemon mousse
20. Meyer Lemon salsa
Lemon curd is a British spread with a lovely tart and lemony flavour. In my own variant I use Meyer Lemon which makes it perfect. The curd is very versatile and can be used on toasts and muffins or as filling in cakes, pies and tarts.
Once I discovered it I could not stop making it. It’s very simple to make your own lemon curd and I strongly recommend doing it yourself instead of buying a jar in the store, which is filled with preservatives and other “not healthy” ingredients. If you use fresh eggs and butter and sterilize the jar, the curd will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
Meyer lemon Curd Napoleon
For the Meyer lemond curd
4 heaping teaspoons grated organic Meyer lemon peel
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
4 Organic eggs
Grate the lemon. Combine with sugar in food processor and blend.
Add lemon juice and eggs one at a time, blending after each addition. Drizzle the melted butte in through the spout.
Pour mixture into double boiler over hot water. Stir constantly over medium heat until sauce simmers and becomes thick. Cover and refrigerate till cool.
For the Napoleon- feuillete
1/2 cup sugar
4 sheets phyllo, defrosted (I used Fillo dough from The Fillo Factory - follow instructions on box)
4 ounces butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. You will need a fairly large surface to work with the phyllo. Keep the sheets you are not using to the side under plastic wrap and damp towel. Take a single sheet of phyllo and lay it flat on the work surface. Brush the phyllo with some of the melted butter and sprinkle with a quarter of the sugar. Lay a second sheet of phyllo on top and repeat the process. Do the same with the other two sheets of phyllo.
Cut the rectangle into 3 x 4 inch rectangles. Using a spatula transfer the rectangles to the baking sheets, with a kitchen brush spread the melted butter on each rectangle and sprinkle the sugar. Bake about 10 minutes or until they have turned golden brown and crispy.
Place a pyllo rectangle on a plate spread on it the Meyer Lemon curd. In the photos I used three layers of phyllo but it does get a little unwieldy to eat.
Strawberries and Oranges for decoration (Optional)