We here at Skillet love that Build our food. We brown it deeply and thoroughly. We also love caramel. And while onions and other alliums get the most attention when it comes to browning and caramelizing, I’d like to bring to your attention another food transformed by the power of non-enzymatic browning and caramelization :tIt’s the humble lemon.
As sour, lemon important to me. Besides the obvious tart applications like lemon juice, vinegar, and tea, almost every savory treat is enhanced with a squeeze of freshly squeezed lemon juice. But the fresh lemon flavor is not what we are talking about today. The caramelized lemon isn’t fresh, but it’s delicious.
Frying lemons in olive oil concentrates their existing flavors while creating new ones. The pulp melts and the water evaporates, leaving behind the caramelized sugars, soft rind, and lovely little browned bits. Eating a few caramelized lemons is an intense experience. It’s still a little tart, a little bit bitter, but it’s bound up with small moments of roasting, almost toffee-like sweetness.
Caramelized lemons can be used in both sweet and savory applications. Carolina Gelen uses it to make a file Lemon caramel sauceBut I would sprinkle them on all sorts of things with wild abandon. My favorite, so far, is GYogurt flavors with lots of honey (kind of tastes like refined lemon pie filling), every single rice bowl, and bowls of creamy noodles. I think they would also be great to dip in yogurt, or with any roasted vegetables. Since caramelized lemons are so potent on their own, they work best when paired with sugar, fat, or both. Use it as an accent for the rich and sugary or Rich and salty, be prepared to fall in love.
- Slice lemon into 1/8-inch slices, and remove seeds
- olive oil
Add enough oil to a large skillet to cover the bottom. (Do not use cast iron because cast iron is not acid compatible.) Set the heat to medium-low heat. Add the lemon slices in a single layer and cook, stirring as needed, until all the pulp has loosened and the slices are well-coated.Built on both sides. The more brown it is, the less sour it is.
Transfer to a cutting board and chop them into small pieces. Put the small pieces on things, and put them in Things. I recommend starting with full fat yogurt and lots of honey. (do not try this With non-greasy you’ll hate yourself lemons, it won’t be the lemon’s fault.)
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