“When life gives you lemons …” How many times have you heard that? It’s as if getting lemons is the worst possible outcome in life. You get lemons – you just have to make the best of them.
If I were a lemon, I’d be pretty upset. I mean, are oranges, grapefruits, and limes that much better than lemons? Are lemons forever stuck on the bottom rung of the culinary citrus ladder?
If you stop and think about it, lemons really are one of America’s favorite citrus fruits. In one form or another, lemons find their way into a surprising number of recipes like Greek salad dressings, marinades, cookies, pies, cakes, sauces, seasonings, and countless beverages.
For many, however, when life gives out lemons, lemonade is the default.
Summer is one of the best times to discover, or perhaps rediscover, the versatility of lemons and to enjoy one or more recipes that showcase this delicious fruit which was first brought by seed to this country during Christopher Columbus’ early voyages to the “New World.”
If you love lemons, you probably love Lemon Meringue Pie, Lemon Curd, or Lemon Tarts, but there are many, MANY more great recipes just waiting to be savored, and as I mentioned, this is the perfect time of the year to try them.
Here are a couple to consider:
Lemon Thyme Butter Sauce: Makes about 1 cup or 3-4 servings
My Lemon Thyme Butter Sauce is the classic Beurre Blanc with the addition of fresh lemon juice and thyme. It is a perfect sauce to serve with grilled chicken, salmon, or shrimp.
1 TBSP Shallot, Minced
1 tsp Fresh Thyme, Chopped
¼ cup White Wine
¼ cup Fresh Lemon Juice
1/3 cup Heavy Cream
3 sticks Salted Butter, Cut in Small Pieces
To taste Salt & Pepper
- In a small sauce pan, melt about 2 TBSP of the butter and sauté the shallot and thyme for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the wine and lemon juice, then cook until it reduces by half.
- Add the cream and reduce that mixture by half again.
- Reduce the heat to low and while briskly stirring, add the butter in by TBSP size amounts until completely incorporated, making sure the mixture does not boil.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with your dish of choice.
Candied Lemon Peels: Makes about 36 pieces
Candied Lemon Peels are easy to make and a great snack. In addition, they can be a fantastic garnish in summer cocktails or on desserts. Best of all, they can be stored almost indefinitely in your fridge or pantry.
3 Fresh Lemons
8 cups x 3 Cold Water
2 cups Cold Water
2 cups Granulated Sugar
- Cut lemons into ringed slices about ¼-inch thick and remove the fruit pulp. Cut the rings in half so the peels are in long strips.
- Bring the first 8 cups of water and lemon peel to a boil in a small pan. Drain the water. Add the next 8 cups of fresh cold water. Repeat the boiling step three times.
- Drain and set peels aside.
- Combine 2 cups fresh water with 2 cups sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce heat to low and stir in the lemon peels
- Simmer until the white pith is translucent.
- Store peels in the syrup, refrigerated, to keep them soft, or allow them to dry on absorbent paper towels for a few hours, and then toss in additional granulated sugar. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Lemon Garlic Shrimp: Makes 4 servings
Lemon, garlic and shrimp are natural go-togethers, especially when married with marjoram, one of my favorite herbs. This recipe also works for chicken if you cut it into strips similar to the size of shrimp. You can even do a half-and-half shrimp/chicken combo!
½ cup Olive Oil
½ Stick Salted Butter
1 Lemon, Zested, Then Cut into ¼-Inch Slices
4 Marjoram Sprigs
1 ½ lbs Large Shrimp, Peeled and Deveined
2 TBSP Fresh Garlic, Chopped
2 TBSP Fresh Italian Parsley, Coarsely Chopped
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees °F. Heat a large oven-proof skillet on the stovetop over medium heat.
- Add the olive oil, butter, lemon zest, and marjoram to the skillet.
- When the butter is melted and the oil is hot, add in the shrimp, lemon slices, and garlic. Stir to combine.
- Transfer to the oven and cook, stirring once halfway through, until the shrimp are just cooked through, about 10 minutes.
- Top with fresh parsley and serve immediately.
In addition to my recipes above, you can find more recipes that feature lemons on Nino’s website. Just click on the links below.