Lemon recipes are a hot topic this time of year, when the bright yellow fruits weigh down the branches of garden citrus and reach overflow capacity on farmers’ market shelves. Even the lemons you purchase at the grocery store can invariably accumulate, as the versatile citrus is so often a key ingredient you just can’t do without. But lemons are such flexible culinary players, adding oomph to savory and sweet dishes alike, that there’s no reason for any to go bad. When you’ve got a crisper drawer packed with the golden orbs, you should use all their bounty, whether you’ve got traditional or Meyer lemons. Here is the gear you need, plus ways to use both the fruit’s zest and its juice, from cocktails to baked goods to entrées. (Ahem, we’ve updated this post with 10 new gloriously lemony recipes!))
Hubba, hubba. The springiest baked doughnuts of all time employ juice in both batter and glaze, plus a flurry of chopped pistachios. Pale gold and pale green and delicious all over, they are spring in edible form.
When was the last time you tried Meyer lemon? (Never? Goodness gracious, let us help you remedy that.) The California beauties have a delicate, floral sweetness as different from a traditional lemon as, er, an apple is from an orange. That bouquet shines in this simple French toast dish featuring an elegant Meyer lemon marmalade.
Accustomed to just purchasing lemon curd in tiny little jars? We get the appeal, but why not make your own every once in a while? It takes 30 minutes, it’s delicious, and you can jar it up and put a ribbon on it yourself!
There are desserts, and then there are desserts: the showstoppers that make people squeal when you bring them out to the table. This dreamboat of a lemon meringue pie falls squarely in the latter category. With a full one and a half cups of fresh lemon juice, an easy food processor “crust” of gingersnaps, and a billowy meringue topping, it’s almost as fun to make as it is to eat.
Good grief. Though it’s a fool’s errand to try to choose a favorite lemon recipe, you’ve got to admit that this stunner certainly gives the competition a run for its money. A full 3/4 cup of juice mingles with orange zest for the body of this sultry chiffon pie. (The orange tempers the mouth-smacking tartness of the lemon.) It is divine.
As is true of pasta dishes, a spritz of citrus is almost always welcome in risotto. We are quite fond of this springy number, replete with fresh Parmesan, leeks and asparagus. (Where there is asparagus, may there always be lemon zest!)
Center cut bone-in pork chops, meaty and unctuous, meet their perfect foil in sprightly Meyer lemon here. You need acidity to cut through fat, and when it’s as delicately flavored as Meyer lemon is, all the better.
Isn’t the sight of salmon without lemon a terribly sad sight? We are always happy to see it sliced or quartered on the table, but this roasted fennel-salmon dish is next-level. Lemon juice makes its way both into the bevy of veggies beneath the fish and on top of the fillets themselves. You’ve got an instant side for your entrée without breaking a sweat.
Fried artichokes. Fried lemons. (Are you still with us? Do you need some smelling salts?) Is there anything better with which to start a meal? It doesn’t matter, the weather outside. Spring, fall, summer and winter alike, you can be transported to the Italian Riviera in a flash with a plate of this knockout fritto misto and some cold white wine.
Mix up your usual lemonade if you like, sure, or mix it up this year by swapping in lemon verbena leaves. Floral and citrusy at once, they’re just the thing to make your rockabilly porch summer lemonade just a touch more unique. (Just don’t swap out the porch or the music; you’ll need those. Classic.)
Got a gnarly old cheese grater, and you use one side of it for zest? Friend, you deserve better. The oils and aromas of lemon zest are one of your best friends in the kitchen. A proper zester makes short work of getting every sunny bit into your soup or on to your salmon.
If you make a lot of fresh juice, and we recommend it, a good juicier is key. The fabulous among us will vie for this stylish Dolce & Gabbana juicer made in collaboration with SMEG, but the simple, retro SMEG juicer is just as stunning.
Can openers. Corkscrews. We cut corners in the kitchen in the funniest ways, and then curse when things go awry or break. Why not get a decent citrus press? It’s the difference between a margarita night with friends you enjoy and one you dread. (This Breville press is electric!)