Get your lemon on

On my regular market run, strawberries, romaine, green beans… I was elated to find a bright, fragrant and beautiful package of lemons.

Meyer lemons (photo credit: Courtesy)
Meyer lemons
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Last week on my regular market run; strawberries, romaine, green beans…I was elated to find a bright, fragrant and beautiful package of Meyer lemons.
I always forget that October through May is their peak season and a great time to enjoy their super sweet goodness. Thought to be a cross between a mandarin orange and a lemon, Meyer lemons are rounder and smoother-skinned than regular lemons, with a color that’s more bright yellow. As lemons go, these are especially sweet and perfum-y, so when you see them at the market... pounce. Their juice tastes great in any recipe in which you’d use regular lemon juice, and their zest is especially delicious in cakes and scones. I have included a few recipes but in addition, I highly recommend using their zest and juice in any recipe, from salad dressings, to spreads, to desserts, and even on roasted vegetables. They add freshness, sweetness, and a great burst of flavor.
Here are three tips:
Spread it: Add a generous squeeze of Meyer lemon juice and a minced clove of garlic to mayonnaise for gefilte fish or grilled chicken sandwiches.
Grate it: 
Combine the freshly grated peel of one Meyer lemon with one minced clove of garlic, a handful of chopped parsley, and toasted bread crumbs. Use a spoonful of the mixture, called gremolata, to perk up braised meat or veal stews or atop roasted asparagus or broccoli.
Roast it: 
Add wedges of Meyer lemons alongside wedges of potatoes in the roasting pan. Also, alongside simple roasted chicken. Make sure you squeeze the roasted juice over the potatoes or chicken before you serve them.Meyer Lemon and Coconut Shortbread Bars Recipe(Adapted from Bon Appetit)
I make these with regular lemon juice too, but the Meyer lemons make them worth the calories! Makes 16 bars
Bars: 3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut 2 whole graham crackers 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted margarine, room temperature 1/3 cup powdered sugar 1 cup all-purpose flour 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Lemon Curd: 12 large egg yolks 4 large eggs 2 cups sugar 3/4 cup finely grated Meyer lemon zest (from about 8 Meyer lemons) 1 1/3 cups fresh Meyer lemon juice 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted margarine, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 1/2 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk or parve whipping cream
Shortbread Crust: Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish with nonstick spray; set aside. Spread out coconut on a small rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring every 2 minutes, until light golden brown, 6–8 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let coconut cool in pan.
Pulse graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground (there should be about 1/4 cup). Transfer to a small bowl; stir in coconut and set aside.
Using an electric mixer, beat margarine and powdered sugar in a medium bowl until fluffy, 2–3 minutes. Add flour, vanilla, and salt. Mix just until dough begins to form. Fold in coconut-crumb mixture (dough will be soft and will hold together when pressed between your fingers).
Press dough evenly onto bottom of prepared dish (smooth surface with an offset spatula, if desired). Using a fork, prick dough all over.
Bake crust until golden brown and just set, 18–22 minutes. Set aside.
Lemon Curd: Cook egg yolks, eggs, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly and beating in as much air as possible (keeping the whisk moving prevents the curd from burning and the eggs from scrambling), until curd has thickened and begins to bubble, about 10 minutes. Remove immediately from heat.
Whisk in margarine and coconut milk until butter is fully incorporated and curd is smooth. Strain curd through a fine-mesh sieve directly onto baked crust. Smooth top.
Bake bars until center of filling is just set, 15–17 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool in pan for 30 minutes. Chill until cold, 2–3 hours. DO AHEAD: Lemon bars can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.
Cut into bars. Serve cold.
Baby Lamb Chops with Minted Meyer Lemon Spread Serves 6
The technique for this recipe seems a bit strange. The results are great so follow the directions closely. Basically you need to dissolve the sugar with the wine and mint to infuse the mint and sweetness into the wine. Then you are adding the best of the lemon, the zest and the fruit without the pith to make a sweet lemon compote to top the lamb chops.
3/4 cup dry white wine 1/2 cup sugar 1/4 cup (packed) fresh mint leaves 2 Meyer lemons 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt 16 baby lamb chops or 8 3/4-inch-thick lamb chops 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Combine wine, sugar, and mint in heavy small saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; let stand 30 minutes. Strain syrup into medium saucepan; discard mint.
Using vegetable peeler, remove peel from lemons in strips. Place strips in mini processor. Cut away all white pith from lemons and discard. Working on plate to catch juice, quarter lemons; remove seeds. Add lemons and juice to mini processor; using on/off turns, chop coarsely. Add lemon mixture to mint syrup. Boil until mixture is reduced to 2/3 cup, about 10 minutes. Stir in salt. Cool.
Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Add lamb; cook as desired, about 2 1/2 minutes per side for medium-rare. Repeat with remaining lamb. Serve lamb with lemon compote.Roast Chicken with Shallot and Meyer Lemon Sauce Serves 6 - 8
1 4-to-5-lb. chicken 1 tablespoon kosher salt 2 medium Meyer or regular lemons 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme 1 pound shallots 1/2 to 3/4 cup chicken broth 1/3 cup dry white wine
Preheat oven to 375°. Zest lemons. Slice 1 lemon; juice half of the other.
Rub zest under as much of the skin as possible and rub any remaining zest inside cavity. Rub chicken all over with 1 tablespoon olive oil and the thyme. Put lemon slices in cavity.
Set a V-shaped rack in a heavy roasting pan large enough to hold shallots. Put chicken in rack, breast side up. Add shallots to pan and drizzle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, turning them to coat the onions in the oil.
Roast chicken, basting every 30 minutes or so, until browned about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours (remove shallots after 1 hour and set aside). Remove from oven to let it rest before carving.
Meanwhile, make sauce: Pour pan drippings into a measuring cup with a pouring lip. Trim tops from shallots and squeeze soft insides into a blender. Pour off all but about 1 tbsp. fat from pan drippings and add drippings to blender. Add 1/2 cup broth and the wine and pulse until smooth.
Pour sauce into roasting pan. Cook, scraping up brown bits and adding more broth if you want a thinner sauce, over medium-high heat until sauce turns a nutty brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon reserved Meyer lemon juice, or more to taste. Carve chicken, serve with sauce.
These recipes were brought to you by