Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Meyer Lemon is a citrus fruit that is a cross between lemon and tangerine or sweet orange. It looks like a lemon but has a thin, soft and smooth rind and has a sweeter and less acidic flavour than regular lemons. Oh - and it cost more. Brad went to pick up a few and was shocked when he had to fork out more than $10.00 for a few lemons ( I did not tell him the price of Meyer lemons at the local grocery store). I think I am better off buying it online. It is cheaper but I discovered that a bit too late. Maybe next year.
I made some preserved lemon with salt, sugar, some Meyer lemon juice, cardamom, chili flakes and whole cloves. It is sitting in the fridge and I can't wait to use it in a few weeks. Then I browsed the web and came across the LA times article - 101 things to do with Meyer lemons. I was inspired by that article to make some lemon confit. It is easy peasy - slice the lemons thinly and cook it low and slow in olive oil for one hour. I had to take it off the stove after 45 minutes because it was starting to overcook and I was afraid that it was going to burn.
What to do with the leftover lemons? I was not in the mood for lemon desserts ( it had been a dessert filled week - too much of a good thing I guess :) I decided to make risotto with some of the asparagus that was languishing in the fridge. I was rewarded with a velvety and luscious risotto....So good!
Meyer Lemon Risotto with Asparagus
I boiled the stock first before even starting the rest of the dish. The stock needs to be added slowly to the rice. I have used dried rosemary here. You could substitute with fresh rosemary. Regular lemons would work as well as Meyer lemons in this recipe. You will notice that I have not specified the amount of freshly grated Parmesan cheese - use as much as your heart desires!
7 cups vegetable stock
1/2 lb asparagus - cut into 1 in lengths
1 tb flat leaf parsley - chopped fine
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tb olive oil
1 cup shallots - peeled and chopped fine
3 cloves garlic - chopped fine
1 1/4 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tsp Meyer Lemon zest
1 1/2 tb lemon juice
salt and freshly round pepper to taste
2 tb cream
Parmesan cheese - freshly grated
a pinch of saffron
Heat stock and dried rosemary in a pot and bring to a boil Reduce heat to a simmer.
Bring another pot of salted water to a boil and blanch asparagus for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl of ice water. This would ensure the vegetable retains its colour.
Drain and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a pan on medium heat ( I used a heavy bottomed wide saucepan) and saute chopped shallots and garlic till translucent and soft. Add rice and stir for 4 minutes. Pour wine into the pot, add lemon zest and saffron. This is one dish where constant stirring is required so don't walk away from the stove!
Once the wine is absorbed, add 1/2 cup of stock to the rice and stir . Repeat this until the rice is creamy and tender. It should still retain some firmness in the centre and should not be mushy all through (it took me half an hour).
Remove pot from heat and stir in lemon juice and parsley. Stir and then add cream and Parmesan. Adjust seasoning. Serve immediately or it till glob up. Makes 5 servings ( as a first course).