Kasey Wilson offers up some savoury recipes that feature lemons
Fresh lemons are a staple in my kitchen. I prefer citrus to vinegar in salad dressings and I like to punch up everything from herb butter to pancake batter and cookie dough with the lemon zest I grate and freeze. It keeps, tightly sealed, for up to three months.
Naturally, I couldn’t wait to try Bruno Feldeisen’s recipe for an easy lemon curd from his cookbook, Baking with Bruno: A French Baker’s North American Love Story. A judge on CBC’s Great Canadian Baking Show, Feldeisen lives in B.C. and was named one of the top pastry chefs in America by Chocolatier Magazine two years in a row.
Made in the microwave, his curd is delicious on its own and makes a great pie filling, ice cream topping and for layering cakes.
Today’s savoury recipes feature Meyer lemon, a seductive cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange that you can substitute for its common cousin in most recipes. It adds a welcome note of brightness to Janet Fletcher’s Roast Chicken with Meyer Lemon and Smoked Paprika and Roman-born New York chef Sandro Fioriti’s signature pasta dish, Spaghettini with Limone.
Roast Chicken with Meyer Lemon and Smoked Paprika
Spain’s aromatic pimentón de la Vera (smoked paprika) gives these succulent chicken thighs a ruddy colour as they roast on a bed of red onion and sliced Meyer lemon. Serve with crusty bread to soak up the pan juices. (Adapted from Wine Country Table: With Recipes That Celebrate California’s Sustainable Harvest by Janet Fletcher (Rizzoli).
1 ½ pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (4 to 6)
1 tbsp (15 mL) extra virgin olive oil
1½ tsp (7.5 mL) kosher or sea salt
1½ tsp (7.5 mL) dried oregano
1½ tsp (7.5 mL) garlic powder
1½ tsp pimentón de la Vera (Spanish smoked pepper)
1 Meyer lemon or navel orange, ends removed, then thinly sliced
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced from stem to root
24 green olives (optional)
Coat the chicken thighs all over with the olive oil. In a small bowl, combine the salt, oregano, garlic powder and paprika. Sprinkle on both sides of the chicken. Set the seasoned thighs on a rack over a plate or tray and refrigerate, uncovered, for 8 to 24 hours to dry. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before roasting.
Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425°F (220°C). Choose a shallow baking dish just large enough to hold the thighs in a single layer without touching. Put the lemon and onion slices in the baking dish and toss. Form them into a flat bed and set the thighs directly on top.
Roast the chicken for 20 minutes, then baste with the pan juices. Continue roasting until the chicken skin is well browned and crisp and the onions and lemons are just beginning to caramelize, about 20 minutes longer. Add olives, if using, about 10 minutes before the chicken is done. Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before serving to allow the juices to settle.
Spaghettini with Lemon
1 Meyer lemon
4 tbsp (60 mL) unsalted butter
Freshly ground white pepper
2 cups (500 mL) whipping cream
1 lb (454 g) spaghettini or spaghetti
¼ cup (60 mL) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Zest and juice the lemon.
Heat butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Strain lemon juice into butter and add pepper and salt to taste. When butter is melted and mixture starts to boil, add cream. The moment it returns to a boil, remove pan from heat.
Cook pasta al dente in salted water.
Return sauce to burner and bring just to a boil. Drain spaghetti and toss with sauce in pan. Remove from heat and stir in grated cheese.
A Very Lemony Lemon Curd
Don’t forget to zest the lemons before juicing. This recipe is adapted from Baking with Bruno: A French Baker’s North American Love Story (Whitecap Books). For a tipsy variation, chef-author Bruno Feldeisen whisks ½ cup of limoncello liqueur into the chilled curd.
1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar, divided
4 large eggs
2/3 cup (160 mL) unsalted butter, diced
¾ cup (180 mL) freshly squeezed lemon (about 3 lemons) plus zest
Place ½ cup sugar in each of two 1-quart glass bowls. Whisk eggs into sugar in one bowl, beating until pale yellow in colour. Set aside.
Add lemon juice and zest and butter to sugar in the other bowl and microwave on high in 30-second increments until boiling.
Pour the boiling mixture on top of the egg mixture and stir until smooth. Return mixture to the microwave and cook on high in 30-second increments until it boils and thickens.
Pass the lemon curd through a fine mesh sieve and let it cool at room temperature. Place in an airtight container, press plastic wrap onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until needed. It will keep for up to 10 days.
Makes 2 cups
Kitchen Hack: Zest Shortcut
Rinse lemons under cool water and dry with a towel before zesting. If your citrus is too soft to zest easily, place it in the freezer until firm (about 30 minutes) before rubbing it against a box- or rasp-style grater.