Lemon mi amore

Le citron c'est important

Le citron c'est important

You are going to think that I am flaky, unreliable even: still no luck at Momofuku Ko. But that’s also because I still didn’t manage to be there at 10:00 am on the dot. I was there at 9:58 – and then something happened and next thing I know it’s 10:10 am already and Momofuku Ko is all reserved for the next week.Oh well.

I already shared my love for flat-leaves Parsley. Wonderful Parsley. And with Parsley comes Lemon, often. Lemon is indeed another one of my must-haves. I am wondering whether I shouldn’t have started with it actually. For when I am out of lemon, I am not the same. Really. A little bit like when you are out of salt. Or when you get the filter in the coffee machine in the morning, add water…and then realize you are out of coffee. Well, you get the picture.

Lemon does wonder in the kitchen. It’s cheap: I got 5 for 2 dollars at Union Market the other day (and Union Market is not really known for being cheap). You can keep them forever in the fridge (which means that you CAN buy 5 lemons). And here is an idea of all the nice things you can do with them:

  • the obvious: la vinaigrette. I use it all the time instead of vinegar – I find that vinegar is usually not good if you are not willing to pay the price (don’t get me started on fake balsamic vinegar). So my usual vinaigrette is as follows:
  • 1 measure of olive oil+ 1 measure of lemon + 1 measure of water + salt & pepper
    + 1 handful of parsley

    Yes: water. Because it’s light – but wet also. Likewise, I use lemon in mayonnaise, but also in any sauce, cream with yogurt or cream cheese or both.

  • the less obvious: did you know that lemon is a thickener? That’s why I often use it in pasta sauce (see for example my Baby Spinach Carbonara). Not only does it thickens the sauce, but it’s also light (unlike corn starch) and it can give the sauce a little twist which I like.
  • also less obvious: in soups. I like to finish off a vegetable soup with a little lemon juice. It’s actually a trick I learned from my sister’s Hungarian husband (not only does he play a gazillion instruments, but the guy can cook too AND il a de la vigne (he bought a vineyard, yep).

Note that I also like lime – great in salsas of course – but also in vinaigrette when summer comes (which has yet to happen on my part of the world). And of course, there are also recipes entirely centered around lemons, including one of my very best favorite desserts: la tarte au citron meringuee de ma maman (my mommy’s lemon pie with meringue). Too bad I can’t bake, otherwise I would have shared it with you.

Oh – and one big caveat: please don’t use store-bought lemon juice. Please. It tastes like plastic. And what, you are so lazy you can’t squeeze the lemon with your hands? Your hands are so delicate you can’t use one of them as a colander to prevent the seeds to get into your vinaigrette? Please.

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4 responses to “Lemon mi amore

  1. I could not agree with you more, lemons are so useful in so many expected ways. I could not live without lemon zest. And I hadn’t known that lemons were a natural thickener, that’s good to know!

  2. moi aussi, j’aime les citrons!
    – zahavah

  3. Lemons, I love them too! Not only I use them for cooking, I also eat them, lip-smackingly sour. I am especially prone to such undertakings when I start to show nasty signs of nascent cold…Plus, I, too, use my delicate hands for stopping lemon seeds sneak into whatever it is I cook.

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