5@5– Chef David Bazirgan
February 8th, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

These days, it's hard not to channel your inner sourpuss - especially when you look out the window to find a four-foot, trash-speckled snowdrift. Why not sweeten up those winter doldrums with one of the season's fruitful bounties, the Meyer lemon?

Meyer lemons are sweeter and less acidic than other lemons: a love child between the typical Eureka variety and a mandarin, with a smooth printer's yellow skin.

Most Meyer lemons grown in the United States come from California, much to local chefs', like David Bazirgan, delight.

Bazirgan is the executive chef at Fifth Floor Restaurant in San Francisco, California. Before joining the Fifth Floor team, Bazirgan had been named one of the San Francisco Chronicle's “Rising Star Chefs," as well as worked in Baraka, Jackson Square, Chez Papa Resto and the James Beard Award-winning No. 9 Park.

Five Recipes for the Meyer Lemon: David Bazirgan

1. Granita
"The sweetness of Meyer lemons really makes the granita naturally sweet."

Juice of 4 Meyer lemons
25 grams of sugar

Mix the Meyer lemon juice and sugar together. Pour into a container, and freeze overnight. When you see ice crystals form, mix and smash with a fork. Be sure to break apart any of the larger chunks. Continue to freeze and scoop with a spoon when you’re ready to serve.

2. Preserved Lemon
"I love using preserved lemons in salads and other dishes such as this lamb tartare below."

6 Meyer lemons
1 cup salt
Juice of three Meyer lemons

Make 2 slices on each lemon, being careful not to slice through the entire lemon. Place the lemons in a mason or canning jar.

Cover with salt and juice and seal. Refrigerate for 3 weeks. To use, remove a lemon, scrape off seeds, dice or julienne and add to dish.

Lamb Tartare with preserved Meyer lemon

1 pound hand cut (or ground from butcher) lamb leg
1 tablespoon harissa paste
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1 tablespoon chopped mint
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon ground sumac
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon argan oil
2 egg yolk
1 tablespoon chopped cornichons (small)
1 tablespoon chopped red onion (small)
2 tablespoon chopped preserved Meyer Lemon

Combine everything and mix well. Add more salt if necessary. Serve very cold with green bean salad and toasted pita bread

3. Vinaigrette for salads
"The floral nature of Meyer lemons makes for a great vinaigrette, and pairs nicely with salads that have a sweet fruit component in them."

1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Whisk all ingredients together and use to dress your favorite salad.

4. Curd Lemon Tart
"The great aroma and flavor of the Meyer Lemon work really well for lemon curd and works well in a tart."

For the lemon curd tart filling
5 ounces sugar
3.5 ounces egg
1 ounces Meyer lemon juice
Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
2.5 ounces butter

Whisk together sugar, eggs, lemon juice and zest over double boiler until mixture thickens, reaching a temperature of 165 Fahrenheit (be sure not to boil!). Take the mixture off the heat. Add butter piece by piece in small chunks until it’s well incorporated. Chill until ready to use.

For the tart shell
Makes one 11-to 12-inch or two 8-to 9-inch or two 14-by-4-inch crusts
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup ice water

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and sugar. Add butter, and process until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 to 20 seconds. In a small bowl, lightly beat egg yolks; add ice water. With machine running, add the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream through the feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds.

To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator, and chill at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Bake the pie shell until golden brown, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Fill the shell with the lemon curd. Serve with whipped cream.

5. Lemon salt with the zest
"A really versatile and easy salt to make that is a great addition to many dishes."

Remove the zest of 2 lemons with a peeler. Cut off all of the pith.

Microwave on low in 15 second increments until the zest becomes dry (this may take 20-25 minutes). Allow to cool.

Blend in a spice grinder with three tablespoons of fleur de sel. Use to finish dishes (especially great with fish dishes).

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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Filed under: 5@5 • Make • Recipes • Think

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soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Michele Esarsome

    Ah California Dreaming....Interesting... Definitely on my list to go to when I visit San Francisco.

    February 10, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
  2. Sam Meyer

    I love Meyer lemons. (Wish there was some relation.)

    February 9, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  3. Fiona

    "Curd" lemon tart? how about "curd" lemon tart. Jeeesh!

    February 9, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  4. Kathleen

    I'd never waste a Meyer Lemon on a recipe - just slice and eat (with a sprinkle of salt).

    Well, maybe if I had regular access to them I might use them in a recipe, but I only get one every couple of years.

    February 9, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  5. Nick

    I made a caipirihna using Meyer lemons instead of limes. Sooo good! Especially if you use half cachaca and half coconut rum.

    February 9, 2011 at 11:40 am |
  6. Aaron Carpenter

    I prefer Orzo soup, add too much lemon, a little more, and you're just about there.

    February 9, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  7. Carolyn

    love Meyer lemons...great recipes....thanks!

    February 9, 2011 at 10:30 am |
  8. GT66

    "...especially when you look out the window to find a four-foot, trash-speckled snowdrift." heh...The charm of city life.

    February 9, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  9. Jdizzle McHammerpants in the Peanut Crowd

    BOO. HISS. Boring article. Tsk, tsk, ladies.

    I joke. I like limes better, anyway.

    February 8, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  10. Wisey

    I'd hit that!

    February 8, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
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