Roberta’s, a Brooklyn restaurant, served a simple yellow swoosh of a sauce came on a plate alongside pan-seared octopus.
“Meyer lemon,” is the main ingredient of the sauce, rendering it lightly sweet. Meyer lemon, is a hybrid of lemon and Mandarin orange.
Chef Nick Barker said the sauce was basically nothing more than whole Meyer lemons, blended into submission with a bit of simple syrup (aka sugar syrup) for sweetness. No peeling, zesting, or blanching. Just cut the Meyers in half, flick out any visible seeds, and blend. The sauce doesn’t even require olive oil to emulsify it, thanks to the natural oils found in the lemon’s skin. “If you get good Meyers, they retain a nice bitterness since you don’t cook them,” he said. The result is a spot-on balance of sweet and sour.
Put lemons in a blender? I can do that.
The technique couldn’t be any simpler: Halve and seed Meyer lemons and blend them, periodically scraping down the sides of the blender to make sure everything gets incorporated. Add simple syrup (I used a tablespoon of simple syrup for each lemon I used) and season with salt to taste. Bonus: It will keep for the fridge for a few weeks.
Don’t have Meyer lemons on hand? Barker says that the same technique works with regular lemons: Just peel the lemon and blanch the lemon rinds before blending the flesh and blanched peel with the simple syrup as directed above.
What you’re left with is a sauce so glorious that no one will believe it took you less than 5 minutes to make. I use it almost exclusively on fish—a seared fillet of red snapper, a tangle of grilled octopus, or a few plump shrimp—but the sauce could easily be thinned out with olive oil and a bit of honey and transformed into a supercharged lemon dressing for salads, too.
Looks like I’ll have to rethink my no-sauce-at-home policy.
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