A Simple Garnish: Fried Lemon

April 11, 2010 § 1 Comment

Last Saturday I sprawled out on the cement patio with my sunglasses, a glass of iced lemonade and my favorite Mollie Katzen cookbook: Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without. I was moments away from chugging the rest of my lemonade and whipping up Mollie’s broccoli with peanut dressing recipe.  But then I flipped a page and landed on “Fried Lemon Slices.”  Fried lemon slices!?  Sure enough, Mollie sliced a couple of lemons into paper-thin slices, lightly coated them in flour and fried them in a glug of oil.  I’m never one to doubt Mollie, but I’ll admit, I was a bit skeptical, plus – who am I kidding – peanut dressing sounded delectable.  But after I read her recipe intro about the lip-smacking, addictive nature of fried lemons slices, I sat up, yanked a lemon off of our tree and scampered up the steps into our house.  I roasted a couple of small fennel heads from the farmers’ market and fried a lemon’s worth of slices to stick on top.  Guys, this garnish isn’t just additive – it’s fantastic!  Each bite is tart, savory, crispy and a little salty.

I purposely set a couple of slices aside to see how well they’d keep in the fridge overnight, and while they certainly weren’t bad (I ate the leftovers in about 45 seconds), they lost some of their crispy texture. Two final notes about the cooking process: keep a close eye on the slices because they burn quickly.  Second, when you first remove the slices from the pan, they might look a little soggy, but they’ll crisp up after a couple of minutes as they cool.

P.S.  If you’d like to see an alternative way to fry lemon slices, here’s a smile-inducing video with Adam from The Amateur Gourmet and Amanda Hesser from the Times!

Ingredients:
1+ lemon
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
several cracks pepper
olive oil (at least 2 tablespoons)

Methods:

Mix flour, sea salt and pepper in a small bowl and set aside.  Slice lemon into paper-thin slices.  Heat olive oil in a brimmed skillet on the stove on medium-high until hot – test with a drop of water; if the oil splatters slightly, the oil is hot.  Dust each lemon slice in the flour mixture, shake off any excess and place in the oil.  Cook for approximately 1 minute on each side until nicely browned.  Remove from heat and let cool on a paper towel.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Diet Notes: Nut-free, vegan

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