Tuesday, March 06, 2012

La La Lemon Love!

It's the time of year when lemon trees go wild.  I've found myself making lemon vinaigrette every week, dropping a slice of lemon into every glass of water, bringing large bags to work and when visiting friends,  and still, the lemon tree runneth over.  I made 2 jars of preserved lemons.  Still, not a dent was made.  So last weekend, I was delighted to meet up with my Food Groupies pals again to work on changing that.

Sabine brought this recipe to the group for lemon confit.  It doesn't sound like much.  Just take some lemon peels and blanch them a couple of times in boiling water in order to remove any bitterness, and then simmer them slowly in a combination of oil and lemon juice, seasoned with garlic.  It didn't seem like the sort of thing that would knock my socks off, but it's knocked them off the charts!  When we finished making this, we dabbed a little bit onto a baguette that we'd also dabbed with arugula pesto.  Then topped it with some sauteed greens.  Heavenly!  We all agreed that the combination of pesto & this lemon confit would make a perfect sauce for pasta.  And now that I have a little jar of it, and a seemingly endless supply of lemons, I'm excited that I'll get to make this a staple in my refrigerator as long as the lemons last!  A little bit goes a long way and adds such sparkle.  The other day for lunch, I diced a hard boiled egg and chopped some kalamata olives, and stirred a bit of this sparkly stuf into the combo, and used it to top a green salad for lunch...with lemon vinaigrette, of course! I think it would also be great stirred into soup, or spread on fish or chicken.

Next up, we made this recipe for Tartine Bakery's lemon cream:  lemon curd's creamier, dreamier cousin. I have recently become a very big fan of the Food52 web site's Genius recipes, and this one is no exception.  It is described as "...your new tart filling, scone spread, and trifle layer -- and the best lemon pudding you'll ever taste.", and that pretty much sums it up!

We adapted the lemon confit recipe ever so slightly, so here it is below with our adaptations.  As for the lemon cream, I wouldn't change a thing!

I am very happy to have discovered both of these recipes, and grateful for the little extra bit of brightness they bring about in the winter.

Lemon Confit

Slightly adapted from Epicurious, by Sondra Bernstein

4 lemons
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup canola oil *(you may also use grapeseed oil or a combo of grapeseed and canola, as we did.)
1 garlic clove
Pinch of salt

Using vegetable peeler, remove peel (yellow part only) from lemons in long strips.  Cut the strips into thinner strips, approximately 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide, kind of like confetti!  *The original recipe didn't call for this, but we found the large strips to be awkward & bulky, and figured the smaller pieces would work better for spreading the final result, and we were all quite happy with that call.

Squeeze 6 tablespoons juice from lemons.

Blanch the peels in small saucepan of boiling water 10 seconds; drain. Repeat twice.

Bring the 6 tablespoons lemon juice, olive oil, canola oil, garlic, and pinch of salt to simmer in small saucepan. Add lemon peels and simmer over low heat until peels are soft, about 1 hour. Cool.

 DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 month ahead. Keep chilled and completely covered in oil. Always use clean fork to remove lemon.