These are the dishes I use it on and these are my reasons

These are the dishes I use it on and these are my reasons

Lemon has always been a basic product in my house and has never been lacking in the kitchen, thanks to my grandfather’s grateful lemon trees. It is said that in Murcia we add lemon to everything, but that passion for this citrus fruit crosses borders. In Spain we really like lemon and proving it by dressing all kinds of dishes.

Beyond the myths that attribute magical properties to it, the lemon is a very healthy fruit and that is why it becomes one of the healthiest dressings that we can use in the kitchen. The most typical thing is to squeeze the juice directly, although you can also consume the whole lemon and take advantage of the pulp and the grated skin. I confess: I am passionate about lemon and I add it to almost everything.

Baked or grilled fish

Few dishes are as simple and exquisite as good seasonal fish cooked to perfection on the grill or in the oven, served with a lemon dressing and some fresh herbs. If the hake is good, the flavor will be superior; if it is mediocre, the lemon manages to substantially improve the fish.

Fattier white fish like sea bass are softened and balanced by the acidity of the citrus, something that of course also happens with oily fish. Fresh salmon tires me a bit on the palate if it is very fatty, but well washed with lemon it seems almost addictive.

soups

Soup

The typical soup of noodles, vegetables and chicken -sometimes with egg, sometimes with chickpeas- is one of those dishes of a lifetime of which every family surely has its recipe. At my mother’s house it is a classic that does not miss its weekly appointment especially in the cold months, always with its lemon departed accompanying at the table.

That splash of freshly squeezed – or squeezed – lemon juice directly onto the steaming bowl of soup works wonders on the comforting broth. Even the saddest “sick” or overcooked soups come back to life with a little lemonstimulating the taste buds with its fresh acidity.

Salads of all kinds

Salad

I like just tossing a good squeeze of lemon juice over any salad, but it’s also a perfect ingredient for create more elaborate vinaigrettes and dressings. Emulsifying lemon juice with some olive oil, herbs and mustard or vinegar we get a much fresher and smoother sauce, also lighter.

Lemon helps keep salad ingredients fresh slightly retarding oxidation, and manages to awaken the bland flavors of poor salads, such as the typical cheap mesclum or iceberg lettuce so repeated in daily menus. Finely grated lemon zest is a good alternative for flavoring salads if we don’t want to add liquid to the dish. With tahini it is also easy to create a most nutritious dressing or sauce that combines as a dressing with all kinds of fresh dishes.

Breaded and battered fillets of meat or fish

Breaded Lemon Fillet

Another classic dish from my childhood was breaded chicken fillets served on a platter with several quartered lemons, so that each diner could help themselves to their liking. Also goes very well with other breaded meatssuch as veal or pork, the San Jacobos, the little books and the flamenquines.

Of course, the lemon is also a good company for the seafood version, especially breaded hake or sole. The hake sticks and their deep-frozen variants are less recommended, but I admit that as children we liked them a lot; always with lemon.

fish fry

Fried Lemon

Fish fry deserve a separate mention, so typical of the coastand above all in Andalusia and with that mythical fried fishdelicious as an aperitif or as a starter to share.

Squid, squid rings, chopitos, anchovies, cod, shrimp, dogfish, pijota, whitebait… In some places it is considered a sacrilege take the fry with lemon because it is a wild card to improve the product of poor quality, but it makes my mouth water when I think of good baby squid with a touch of lemon.

Fried eggs

Fried eggs

There are detractors and defenders here, although there is also no general consensus on what the perfect fried egg should look like. In any case, there are great fans of the fried egg who They always accompany it with a splash of lemon juice before dipping the yolk with a good piece of bread.

french fries chips

potato chips

I have marked in my memory the image of my father serving the Sunday appetizer in a kind of ritual: cold beer, pistachios, bag of chips, squeeze of lemon juice. For me it is inconceivable to serve the French fries without their lemon on the sideand it still shocks me when they don’t play it in bars in other regions of Spain.

It is essential, yes, that the diner water the potatoes just before devouring thembecause they soften very quickly. I remember that as a child I liked to make myself the last potato dipped in juice, but when they are richest it is combining the crunchy texture and the citrus flavor.

Grilled or cooked chicken or turkey breast

Miso Chicken

That sad grilled chicken or turkey breast can revive well seasoned with lemon. It is a meat with little appreciation because it is associated with weight loss diets or a soft diet when you have a delicate stomach, although the big problem is usually a bad product and poor cooking.

Be that as it may, if we have in front of us a chicken breast fillet prepared on the grill or cooked, dry and bland without flavor, the lemon will be our best friend. If we have digestive problems it may not be a good idea to go overboard with lemon, but if what we are looking for is add joy to the dish without adding calorieslemon juice -and its zest- will do wonders, even more so when combined with herbs.

Read:  17 sweet potato recipes to take advantage of during the fall

Baked chicken (or turkey)

lemon chicken

Much more grateful, baked or roasted chicken is a dish that, well prepared, never fails. There are many different recipes and ways to prepare it and lemon is usually an ingredient that is not lacking in most of them.

Can introduce cut lemon inside of the bird, place the piece on slices of the fruit -and combine them with orange- place thin pieces between the meat and the skin or put them directly on top, or simply use the juice to water it during cooking or to prepare the sauce that garnishes the dish final. It’s hard to fail.

seafood

Octopus

If in those photos of gargantuan shellfish there is never a lack of lemon -more or less artistic-, it is for a reason. Okay, It is often used as a mere decorationbut I consider the touch of lemon essential when tasting seafood.

I can admit that a good seasonal red prawn at its point does not need anything else to be pure deli, but in general in my house we have always had prawns, razor clams, alejas, scallops, shrimp and other products with lemon. The baked octopus is also a delicacy with its hint of lemon, without forgetting the cephalopods such as squid or cuttlefish.

Seafood preserves

Preserves

When there is no seafood or fresh fish seafood preserves can be a good workaround, sometimes with products of even higher quality. The marinade is not my forte but a good ventresca in olive oil, cockles, natural mussels or sardines can be a delight.

If the quality of the preserve is medium or a little “white label”, it can be better dressed by dressing with our own good quality oil and a dash of lemon juice. It always brings that fresh touch that makes you forget a little that the product has come out of a can or jar.

Legumes

Lentil Salad

Not all vegetable dishes allow for a touch of citrus before serving, but dishes like stewed lentils with vegetables or a bean or chickpea salad They taste much better with lemon. It is also a dressing that will help us better absorb the iron in the lentils.

Asparagus

White Asparagus2

I don’t like it when they serve you asparagus with mayonnaise, but I always look for the lemon on the plate. Fresh or preserved, white or green, asparagus pairs wonderfully with the fresh acidity of lemon juice. I also add fine zest combined with a little extra virgin olive oil, much better than resorting to vinegar vinaigrette.

Paellas and rice

Rice

Another traditional dish that in my house is not conceivable to taste without lemon on the table. It may be a crime for authentic Valencian paella, but there is many rice recipes that are delicious with a splash of lemon.

The fish and seafood rice clearly accepts the citrus touch well; However, I much prefer the garden-style vegetable rice that my grandmother used so well. My mother has continued the tradition and when she cooks her family rice lemons are never missing next to the pot.

assorted vegetables

Chard

Sauteed, grilled or even roasted and stewed, almost all vegetables also admit a little lemon. If we water them during cooking we can reduce the amount of oil and they will absorb it better, although many people serve it directly to taste before tasting them.

Green leafy ones such as spinach, cabbage and chard are especially good, and when we cook them au gratin in the oven, the lemon combines wonderfully with cheese and different herbs. The most bitter vegetables -such as envy- and the sweetest -pumpkin or carrot- are enhanced by the contrast provided by the lemon citrusand can help prevent oxidation, like with artichokes.

Coffee

Lemon and Coffee

Traditional carajillo and Asian coffee are served with lemon rind, and as a coffee maker myself, I love that little acid point that balances the other flavors of these combined. That’s why it doesn’t surprise me that many people also add lemon to black coffee, either a few drops or also using the most subtle touch of the rind.

In summer iced coffee becomes a drink much more refreshing if we add lemon, or we can even make lemon and coffee granita or coffee lemonade, very popular in some places. And if we do not add much sugar, better.


Lemon and Lime Citrus Juicer - Patent Pending Design - Dishwasher Safe - No Pulp or Seed - Long Handle - Heavy Duty Manual Manual Juicer - Limes, Lemons

Lemon and Lime Citrus Juicer – Patent Pending Design – Dishwasher Safe – No Pulp or Seed – Long Handle – Heavy Duty Manual Manual Juicer – Limes, Lemons

pasta dishes

lemon spaghetti

The use of lemon as a pasta dressing is more typical of Italian cuisine; however, also in Spain we are more and more fans of dressing spaghetti or macaroni with lemon. He would say that it is more common to see the custom in areas where more lemons are traditionally grown and consumed, although it is becoming more and more widespread.

Just keep in mind that tomato sauces don’t get along very well with the lemon because they would be excessively acidic, unless the vegetable is combined with other ingredients. But when we don’t have a tomato on hand, a simple lemon, garlic, cheese, oil and a few herbs work wonders.

lemon and squid

These are the most frequent uses of lemon dressing on the table and surely there are many more. If we add them to the recipes for sweets and desserts with lemon, it becomes clear why it is a basic product in the kitchen. In Murcia we like it so much that we even use the leaves of the lemon tree to prepare the sweet paparajotes, what do you add lemon to?

Images | iStock – Pixabay – Stone Soup – Wolfgang
In DAP | Lemon lovers: 77 recipes that you will love
In DAP | This is the best way to cook asparagus (and the Romans invented it)