Ah Lemons, what would we do without them? Perhaps contract scurvy like the early explorers , if they didn`t take them on their long sea journeys. It was a common disease among sailors. These intense , vitamin C -rich, zingy ,citrussy fruit add so much to our cooking, and they are a joy to look at as you can see in the photograph below. There is something very pleasing visually about a bowl, or basket in the case, of lemons .
Our neighbours, Antonio and Luna ( see them waving across the rooftops as is our only allowed social contact at the present), kindly brought us a huge bag of lemons from the tree in their garden yesterday. Our more modest tree is much depleted, but theirs veritably groans with fruit, we can see it peeping over the white walls from two houses away. I have lemon envy!
So apart from squeezing them on our baked Turbot for supper tonight, I have made preserved lemons. I used a BBC Food recipe, and it was dead easy; basically scrub the lemons, cut each one into three long slices ,and tightly pack into a clean kilner jar, packing with sea salt as you go. Add dried red chillies and a bay leaf, and finish with a final layer of salt. You then keep in a dark place for a couple of months ( yes these fragrant, intense flavoured beauties are worth the wait), , turning the jar every day.
Once opened ,keep refrigerated and add a dash of olive oil after each use. You just use the rind finely chopped and it is a great addition to roast chicken, grilled fish, mashed potatoes, tagines or rice.
With so many lemons there are so many recipe ideas too, and I have already made a classic lemon cheesecake. Next on the list is a pot of lemon curd which is always a treat.
Some good friends of our who live in Javea in eastern Spain, who also have a lemon glut, wrote on Instagram asking for favourite lemon recipes, my husband said that if all else fails they could drive over them ! This refers to Chris Stewart`s famed book ,Driving Over Lemons. Ha ha.