emons and culinary truthsThe zing thing subtle, strong, simple or sophisticated brings new life and luster to lots of dishes. How do you get it? Easy, just buy a bag of lemons and Lori Longbotham's Lemon Zest: More Than 175 Recipes with a Twist will take care of the rest. Many cookbooks that center on one ingredient feel forced or silly, as just an excuse for another round of ordinary recipes. But lemons are worth their weight in gourmet gold in these recipes, and with lots of flavor-enhancing tips, Lori shows us why. The acid in lemons can actually "cook" tender, fresh shellfish the result is a sensational Ceviche, made here with tiny bay scallops, with a touch of jalape–o and garlic. Parsley salad with Lemon Vinaigrette is a divinely different, simple salad, and the vinaigrette may become a permanent part of your repertoire. As may the Gremolata, an intensely flavorful mix of finely chopped lemon zest, garlic and parsley (or other herbs), that zaps the taste buds when sprinkled on Roast Sweet Potatoes, Classic Osso Buco or Chicken Under a "Brick." (I've used it with great success on asparagus, tiny new potatoes or mixed with olive oil for a dip with zip.) Lori lets us in on how to preserve lemons Moroccan-style, make Lemon oil, limoncello liqueur, wholesome, homemade Lemon Pepper and more. You'll never sour on this flavor this is a tart you'll want to bring home.
Sybil Pratt has been cooking up this column for more than five years.