Meyer lemons are a tasty treat
I’ve never figured out why something that resembles a dud is called a lemon. I myself hold this citrus fruit in the highest esteem and the old adage “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” has always been one I’ve taken literally.
In fact, when I was a kid, I would sometimes purchase lemons with my hard earned allowance money. Even to this day, I always have a stash in the fridge for various recipes one of which is homemade lemonade, a concoction I make a lot even during the winter months.
So, you can imagine my delight when a friend and co-worker brought in an over abundance of Meyer lemons to the office, offering them to anyone who was interested. I snapped up some of this bonanza and took a half a dozen home. Little did I know what a treat I was in for. Oh my, these little beauties have a taste beyond comparison.
Most everyone is familiar with the oblong, pitted lemons that are in local grocery markets. Often these are the Eureka or Lisbon varieties, both grown in Florida and California. The origin of the lemon is not clearly known, although they have been cultivated in India for more than 2,500 years. And lemons are not indigenous to the United States. In fact it is believed Christopher Columbus brought lemon seeds here when he was exploring the Americas.
Meyer lemons are actually a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange. They have a sweet-sour taste and when left out of the fridge to warm they give off a floral fragrance. Initially they were grown in China as ornamental trees. Frank N. Meyer, an agricultural explorer with the United States Department of Agriculture, brought them to this country in 1908 from China. Martha Stewart had a hand in making them even more popular when she began using them in her recipes. From now until about late winter, Meyer lemons are in season, although many grocery stores don’t carry them unless they are requested.
And they are worth asking for. The first thing I did when I got my Meyer lemons home, was cut one up into thin slices and gobble it down. Then I ate two more. The next day I made some tasty lemonade and then started looking for recipes to use them in. The one I included this week features Meyer lemons and Brussels sprouts. I know this will be a great side dish for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and I’m looking forward to trying it.
So the next time life throws you lemons, for sure make some lemonade and hope beyond hope those lemons are of the Meyer variety. They are definitely not in the dud category at all.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Lemon Honey Dressing
About 1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
Sea salt, to taste
Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
2 Tbs. olive oil
Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
2 Tbs. fresh Meyer lemon juice
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. brown sugar
1 cup Italian or flat leaf parsley, minced
One Meyer lemon cut into thin slices
Preheat oven to roast at 375 degrees. Lightly oil a sheet pan. Peel the outer, bruised layers of the brussels sprouts off. Trim the ends, then cut sprouts in half or quarters (for small brussels sprouts, cut them in half, and for large brussels sprouts, quarter them for more even cooking). In a large bowl, whisk together the roasting marinade ingredients: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and black pepper. Then add the brussels sprouts and toss to coat evenly. Spread the brussels sprouts, cut side down, on the prepared sheet pan. Place sliced lemons over sprouts. Roast in oven for 15 minutes, flip the sprouts to cut side up, then roast for 10-15 minutes more or until browned. While the brussels sprouts are roasting, make the dressing: Combine the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, dijon mustard, brown sugar and parsley. Set aside. When brussels sprouts are cooked, toss them with the dressing and season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.