Meyer Lemon Meandering

IMG_4005IMG_4021IMG_4024Pictured above are my recent adventures with Meyer lemons: Pan-Seared Salmon with Brown Butter Meyer Lemon Sauce, Chicken Piccata, and Angel Food Cake with Raspberry Sauce and Meyer Lemon Lavender Sorbet. The two lemon pan sauces were quite marvelous, with a mellower lemon flavor than I get from regular lemons. The sorbet was originally going to be a simple lemon sorbet, but you know I can’t leave well enough alone. Joy of Cooking had a list of herbal suggestions to infuse in the simple syrup; one of them was lavender. Well, I have lavender (what, you don’t?), and lemon and lavender are fabulous together, so that’s what I chose.

IMG_4003Humble beginnings, to be sure. The lavender turned the syrup that lovely brown color, dashing my dreams of a bright yellow sorbet. Forging ahead, I mixed in the juice, chilled the mixture, and poured it into the ice cream maker.

IMG_4009I just adore the delicate peachy color it turned in the ice cream maker. The flavor is intense; lemony, sweet, and floral. Every bite reminds me of summer afternoons drinking thirst-quenching lavender lemonade. That’s a recipe for another time.

IMG_4019Here’s the lemon sauce in-progress for the Chicken Piccata. The Meyer lemon slices boosted the lemon flavor, without adding too much tartness.

Recipes:

Meyer Lemon Brown Butter Pan Sauce

4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, in four pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
sea salt

Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat, swirling it around in the pan. Continue to cook the butter, until it turns a rich brown color, and has a nutty fragrance, swirling the pan and lowering the heat if necessary to prevent it burning. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Season to taste with sea salt. Pour over targeted dish and serve immediately.

Chicken Piccata (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen)

Be sure to prep all your ingredients before you start cooking; Piccata waits for no one, and no one wants shoe leather with lemon sauce. I used less capers, and more parsley, than the original recipe, to compliment the mellower flavor of the Meyer lemons.

2 Meyer lemons
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
salt and pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon drained capers
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons minced parsley

1. Preheat oven to 200 deg. F. Place an oven-safe plate in oven to warm.

2. Trim the chicken breasts of all visible fat, and slice each one in half to create two thin chicken cutlets. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Place the flour in a shallow dish or plate.

3. Cut one lemon in half lengthwise, slice the ends off of one half, and then slice that half into thin slices, 1/8 to 1/4 inch.

4. Juice the remaining 1 1/2 lemons to get 1/4 cup of juice.

5. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. In 2 batches, dredge the cutlets in flour, shake off the excess, and carefully place in skillet. Allow to lightly brown on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes each side, remove from skillet to the warm plate in the oven. Add the remaining oil for the second batch of cutlets.

6. Add the garlic to the empty pan, over medium heat, and sauté until fragrant. Add the broth and lemon slices, and reduce over high heat, until the sauce measures about 1/3 cup. Add lemon juice and capers, and reduce again to about 1/3 cup. Be sure to scrape the lovely brown bits off the bottom of the pan to add flavor to the sauce.

7. Remove the pan from the heat, and swirl in the butter until it melts and the sauce thickens. Swirl in the parsley. Pour the sauce over the warm chicken cutlets and serve immediately.

Meyer Lemon Lavender Sorbet (adapted from Joy of Cooking)

1 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 cups sugar
zest of one Meyer lemon
1/2 cup lavender flowers
1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice (about 2 Meyer lemons)

1. Combine the water, sugar and zest in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

2. Stir in the lavender flowers, remove the pan from the heat, cover and steep for 20 minutes.

3. Strain the lavender mixture into a medium bowl. Stir in the lemon juice, and refrigerate until cold. Taste and add sugar if needed, stirring to dissolve completely. Pour in your ice cream maker and process until light and fully frozen.

It has been a year since I promised to revamp the Meyer Lemon Bars recipe. Due to life, and the sketchy availability of Meyer lemons, I have not gotten to it until this week, and I believe I’m close to what I would consider the ideal Lemon Bar. This will happen; nothing will keep me from the lemon bar of my dreams, not even my icy driveway, or my local grocery store’s disturbing lack of Meyer lemons this week. I may have to wander a bit to find them, but they are worth the trip, and their bright color and flavor are a welcome respite to winter’s hearty offerings.

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