Yesterday I went shopping for groceries and made a stop at the warehouse club to buy a few essentials we were low on and to stock up on supplies for our annual Easter getaway. Although I’m much, much better about making impulse buys, I could not resist grabbing a large bag of lemons. Since there were at least fifteen large lemons in the bag, I figured it would be a great excuse to make a recipe series featuring this delicious and refreshing flavor. Hence – drumroll – Operación Limón!
Almost all foods benefit from a little brightness, and citrus fruits often bring balance to many dishes. Rich Hollaindaise sauce becomes tangy with a few teaspoons of lemon juice. Oily fish like sardines and salmon lighten up with a few squirts of lemon as well. A pinch of zest livens up oatmeal and other morning cereals. Lemon desserts are incredibly popular too. Upon showing the picture of these beauties in Facebook and Instagram, lemon meringue pie and lemon bars were some of the top suggestions from my friends. Operación Limón will definitely feature one of these sweets.
With temperatures now going up to the higher eighties, it’s the perfect day for lemonade made from scratch. Or vodka-sodas with a lemony topper. Or granitas, piraguas, limbers… These cold and frozen treats can be made with a simple lemon syrup.
The secret to the syrup’s vibrant yellow color and intense lemon flavor is the inclusion of two tablespoons of lemon zest in the simple syrup. What’s good for the lemon is good for the lime. This syrup would be super tasty with equal parts of lemon and lime juice and zest.
Here are some ideas for using the lemon syrup:
- For a fizzy lemonade, pour about two tablespoons of lemon syrup into a glass filled with ice and top it with sparkling water.
- To make faux limoncello, mix in 2 parts of vodka with one part of syrup.
- Turn the syrup into lemon sorbet by doubling the recipe and freezing in an ice cream maker.
- Top shaved ice with a swirl of syrup for a refreshing “piragua”
- Freeze in a shallow glass container and break up the ice crystals every hour or so for granita