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Meyer lemons offer versatility
Last week, I got a call from a dear friend of mine residing in Loma Rica who provides me with tomatoes in the summer and Meyer lemons in the winter. I went to visit her and collected the Meyer lemons.
Interestingly, this citrus fruit is native to China and was introduced to America in the early 20th century by Frank Nicholas Meyer who brought a sample of the plant from a trip to China.
It was not until the late '60s and early '70s that famous chefs like Alice Waters from the restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley introduced Meyer lemons into several recipes.
What makes this citrus so special is its high sweetness and low acid content. There are so many ways to use Meyer lemons, from preserving them with salt to coating thin strips of the skin with dark chocolate.
My favorite recipe is pairing Meyer lemons with chicken; the flavors seem to be complementary. It is a simple dish with very clean flavors. Do not hesitate to use the best extra-virgin oil, as it will enhance the au jus flavors.
I will be featuring this recipe this coming weekend at Café Collage.
MEYER LEMON-OREGANO ROASTED CHICKEN
Serve six to eight
2 organic chickens, preferably lean, 2 to 3 pounds
4 Meyer lemons, quartered
1⁄2 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
1⁄2 cup dry Greek oregano
6 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch rounds
2 large red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups Meyer lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Select a deep baking pan. Stuff the chicken with the quartered Meyer lemons. Rub the chicken with salt. The salt will make the chicken skin crispier and more flavorful. Sprinkle the pepper and oregano over the chickens.
Put the chickens into the pan. Arrange the carrots and onions around the chickens. Pour the oil and lemon juice over the chickens. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for an hour.
Remove the aluminum foil and bake for another 20 minutes, or until the chickens are golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and let the chickens rest.
Cut the chicken into portions and serve, ideally with organic lettuce and using the au jus from the pan as a salad dressing.