Meyer Lemons

In Making Food on March 5, 2010 at 5:37 pm

Week 3, part 1
Meyer Lemons

I came around the corner and there they were. Glowing. Unreal. Vivid orange-yellow, with a soft, less-like-lemons-more-like-citrus-perfume smell, the Meyer lemons made the neighboring regular lemons look dingy and dusty, muted and dull.

I piled the Meyers into a bag, working quickly, as if they were going to disappear or evaporate — and realized, once I’d gotten them home, that I didn’t have the slightest idea what to do with them. Even though Meyer lemons are thought to be a genetic cross between mandarins and lemons, and I’d heard you could use them interchangeably with oranges, I had a hard time believing that I’d ever want to peel and eat a Meyer straight-up.

Luckily, I stumbled across an awesome L.A. Times article about Meyer lemons, with 100 suggested uses for the November-to-February seasonal beauties. I ripped off three of them: sorbet, candied lemon peels, and pizza. We tried the suggested lemon-olive-rosemary-chevre pizza first (albeit with slight modifications for refrigerator contents and husbandly food aversions).

Here’s my no-fail recipe for pizza dough:

Whisk together 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 heaping teaspoons dry active yeast (or one packet, if you’re not using bulk [which you should]). Pour in 3/4 cup warm water and 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, and stir to combine. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead for a minute or so, until the dough is no longer sticky, adding more flour if necessary.

Spray the dough bowl with cooking spray (no need to rinse it, though you might scrape it out first) and return the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size. My kitchen’s cold and drafty, so I put it in the oven to rise, and I’ll often leave it as long as four hours. (If I’m really on top of things, I’ll make the dough a day ahead and let it slowly rise in the fridge. But that’s a post for another day. Or you can come to my breadmaking class!)

Once it’s risen, punch down the dough, give it a quick knead on a lightly floured surface to smooth it out, and shape it into a ball. If you want a gigantic or thick-crust pizza, roll out the entire thing. For two regular crusts, divide the dough in half and shape it. Or, for super-thin, crispy-crackery crusts, divide into thirds. (You can put the dough balls into zip-top bags and freeze them; when you’re ready to use them, pull the bags out of the freezer in the morning and let the dough defrost and rise on your counter all day — then just punch down and proceed.)

Brust the crust with olive oil and bake for about 10 minutes, then top it with roughly chopped anchovies or sardines (or green olives, if you’re not married to The Husband), chopped rosemary, super-thin slices of Meyer lemon, and crumbles of goat cheese. (I used Humboldt Fog because that’s what was kicking around in our fridge after the last book club, but you could certainly use a lower-rent cheese. In fact, you should, because Humboldt Fog’s pretty expensive for pizza purposes.) Bake it for about ten minutes, or until the cheese melts and just begins to brown.

The Husband didn’t like it; too tart, he said. I thought it was intriguing — each bite was so complex, a mash-up of salty, sour, tangy, and herby —  but I could see his point. A little of this pizza goes a long way. I think it’d be ideal cut into small squares for a snack or appetizer, maybe with a tangle of lightly dressed micro-greens and herbs on top. At any rate, he occupied himself with the chorizo-mozzarella pizza I’d made as a backup, and I was left to eat the lemon pizza for dinner. And lunch the next day. And the next.

look dingy and dusty, muted and dull.
  1. Hmmm not so sure about lemon pizza but I would definitely try it once. You need to live closer so we help you try out all these new creations.

  2. Well, let’s see, goat cheese, super tart lemons and rosemary! I’m afraid I would agree with The Husband.

    • Meyers are actually less tart than regular lemons — they lack that acidic/metallic edge. Nonetheless, they’re a shock to the system of anyone expecting an orange… but at least you’re not an anchovy hater!

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