Lemons can make more than lemonade, as for a meal |  Taste

Lemons can make more than lemonade, as for a meal | Taste

Most of us equate getting lemons as something we should avoid, hence the phrase “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

The proverb makes it seem like lemons are bad and you need to get the best out of these unwanted circumstances. Well, a friend recently gave me Meyer lemons and I could not have been more pleased. You see, it was not just a Meyer lemons. They were lovingly grown in a pot from a small young tree here in Kentucky. This Meyer lemon tree was carefully cared for, kept at just the right temperature with sufficient sunlight, fertilized and pruned with precision to achieve the perfect lemons.

You might be wondering what makes Meyer lemons so special. They are named after Frank Meyer, who encountered them on a trip to China and brought them back to the United States in the early 20th century. They almost seem like a cross between a plain lemon and a mandarin.

You will notice the more rounded shape and deeper yellow color. They also have thinner, less bitter skin and are much less acidic than regular lemons. The peel has a wonderful, almost herbal-like essence, making them perfect for savory dishes as well as desserts.

During January, when the weather is cold and the sky a little sad, I always look for recipes that can bring a little sunshine and light into my meals. I knew these Meyer lemons would be the perfect splash of freshness to turn a boring winter dinner into summer on a plate.

I had planned on baking cod for dinner and was trying to decide how to cook it when I remembered the Meyer lemons. Baked cod with Meyer lemon and caper sauce was such a hit! Although it was a less special weekday evening, it was quite easy to put together for a quick dinner, yet elegant enough to entertain guests.

I try to get wild-caught cod from Alaska when I find it on sale. Not only is it versatile, but it is also a great source of protein. Although not exactly low in calories due to the butter, Meyer’s lemon and caper sauce is so tasty that a little goes a long way.

If you are not a fan of or do not have capers, you can easily substitute a few chopped green olives to add the salty contrast to the sweetness of the Meyer lemon. I served it over fragrant brown jasmine rice with fresh herbs and Meyer lemon peel, but any rice dish that would absorb this delicious sauce would work. Frozen butter-smeared peas go well together. The four lemons I got were so juicy that I had enough for this dish, as well as some lemon meringue pies for dessert.

Next time life gives you lemons, maybe instead of lemonade, you can make this baked cod with Meyer lemon and caper sauce or lemon meringue pies or OK, lemonade. Everything is good.

Kathy Nicarry, former chef at Bernheim’s Isaac’s Cafe, combines her passion for cooking with a love of the natural world. She can be contacted at kjsh956@yahoo.com.

Kathy Nicarry, former chef at Bernheim’s Isaac’s Cafe, combines her passion for cooking with a love of the natural world. She can be contacted at kjsh956@yahoo.com.

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