At this time, the only plant in the yard that produces anything edible is a small Meyer lemon tree, and around early winter, I usually harvest a small basket of them, after which begins the great quest on how to use them up before they turn bad, because I don't really need a lot of lemon juice in everyday cooking.
I have made standard Indian pickles out of them in the past and they work just as wonderfully as regular lemons, but pickles last forever in our house, because we don't eat a lot of them, so I need other alternatives. There are several recipes for lemony cakes and breads but sometimes that seems a tad too much just to use up a few lemons, so instead I try to substitute these Meyer lemons in healthy everyday recipes that use lemons.
First up, this simple salad, versions of which you might have had before. It is a good example of how a few good quality ingredients can shine even when treated very simply, and give tired known combinations a refreshing lift.
The fresh mixed greens were an excellent base for the rest of the cast. The English cucumber was local and organic. Albeit hothouse, it was very sweet and tasty. The olives were from a fancy Italian store, and while I am not too knowledgeable about olives, I believe this is a store that takes pride in their quality, not to mention that everything there is rather pricey, so they have to be good, right? The feta was so-so, but it held its own in the mix, so I can only imagine what a good feta cheese would have done. A small chopped tomato or a few cherry tomatoes would be wonderful in this salad if they are in season, but I did not have any. The Meyer lemon in the dressing was from the backyard, of course, and it cannot get any more local than that.
Things made with few ingredients, where each one plays a standout role towards the final dish have become a hot favorite with me currently, and as I continue to explore the options, it is interesting to find many traditional Indian dishes that fit well into that category too.
Salad with mixed greens, cucumbers, olives, feta, and Meyer Lemon dressing
This would serve about 4 as a small side or starter salad. Precision is not very important here, and the following quantities are just guidelines.
Ingredients for Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
a bit of salt and pepper to taste
dash of granulated sugar
Whisk the lemon juice and oil together for a couple of minutes until they are emulsified. Add the salt, pepper, sugar, and stir together until the sugar dissolves.
Ingredients for Salad
5-6 cups of mixed greens,
a little bit of red onion (this is hard to quantify - I'd say about 20 thin rings, or to taste)
handful of olives
a few Tablespoons of feta cheese
Tossing it together
Wash and dry the greens, and place in a large bowl. Peel and slice the cucumber, or leave the skin on if you like. [I like to keep a striated skin]. Slice the red onion. Pit the olives - a cherry pitter works very well for smaller olives.
Just befere eating, toss the dressing with the greens, a few spoons at a time, using only as much as required to light coat the leaves. It is alright if there is leftover dressing. Add the rest of the ingredients, and toss just once or twice to distribute evenly.