Monday, January 16, 2012

There is a difference between a Meyer lemon and the common lemon

I learned the difference the hard, or should I say puckered, way. My daughter brought home a bag of lemons from a friend at work who has a tree in their yard. I decided to make a dish that I love, Linguine with Lemon. I've made this dish before, from the Molto Gusto: Easy Italian Cooking cookbook. This cookbook is one of my favorites. There is a glowing review of the book in the Daily News. The cookbook suggested Meyer or Sorrento lemons. I had used Meyer lemons before but did not think through the substitution to a fruit of unknown origin. I later learned that a Meyer lemon is a cross between a lemon and an orange: it is much sweeter and less acidic. It is also small, so there is less juice. I chose poorly.

I fixed the dish, following the directions blindly as I was enjoying discussions with our guest, appetizers and wine; I trusted the book. The bottom line is that the pasta was tasty but a bit too lemony. In fact, it was almost ten times too lemony.

This is a lesson we should all remember. I know that all four of us at dinner last night will keep it in mind for years to come.
Addendum: Our guest for this dinner sent me another recipe that called for Meyer lemons. It's a Pasta with Pistachios, Meyer Lemon and Broccoli that was excellent. We're big broccoli fans here so, I added a bit more than he said and I think it improved the dish. The dish was a big hit, especially since we're so accustomed to basil pestos.


At 8:45 AM, Anonymous Lisa said...

All of you were a bit puckered up! I had a lemon incident too when I made Maida Heatter's lemon meringue pie a bunch of years back before I knew what the pith of a lemon is. Pie looked amazing, looked great on the plate, but aaagghh no-one could get close to it.

At 8:47 AM, Anonymous Lisa said...

I meant to write "ZEST" of a lemon.


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