28 September 2010

Lemon confit


One of my favourite bbq books, Adam Perry Lang's Serious Barbecue, has a very particular way for finishing meat. In many cases, he suggests zesting a lemon or lime onto a cutting board. You then drizzle a little juice on the board, with a bit of olive oil, and you have a delightful finisher for the meat. The bright flavour of the citrus oils really brightens the meat.

Seven Fires offers a similar technique. They call it lemon confit. The flavour it offers is a subtler, more muted citrus oil flavour, but it's just as delightful. We start with:
4 lemons
2 bay leaves
8 black peppercorns
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp kosher salt

Juice the lemons. Save the juice for another application (lemonade, anyone?). Place the squeeze lemon halves into a pan with all of the other ingredients, and 2 tsp of the extra virgin olive oil.

Prepared lemon

Cover with water, and simmer over low heat about 35 minutes.

Cooking lemon

What you want is for the white pith of the lemon to loosen from the peel. Cool the liquid.

Cooked lemon halves

Remove the lemons from the liquid and scrape the white parts out of the peel.


Chop the peel finely.

Lemon confit

Drizzle olive oil over top of the confit lemon. Cover. This will store in the fridge for a least a week. Use this lemon confit to dress up meat, and add a milder zest flavour to your meat.


Mary said...

We have a nice little lemon tree in our yard that's a little sweeter than regular lemons - I bet they'd be great for something like this (and for making lemon cake, which is off-topic and totally delicious).

John K. said...

Michael Symon recommends using something acidic with meats. Vinaigrette,lemon juice, etc. The acid helps cut through the richness of the fat and meat, and balances the flavors. This looks like a good approach to that. Thanks for the post!

Bbq Dude said...

Mary: Home-grown lemons have much nicer zest. We have friends who provided us with homegrown lemons and the zest was fresher and much brighter flavoured (indeed, even before we zested them, they smelled up the kitchen). More here: http://indirectheat.blogspot.com/2010/05/lemon-sorbet.html

John K: Yeah, Adam Perry Lang recommends the same. This confit technique mutes the lemon a bit, but it's still a very nice brightener for meat.

Jonny said...

@Mary/Bbq Dude - on a similar tangent, my worry about zesting lemons is that it's often tricky to find unwaxed lemons, so obtaining wax-free zest isn't easy. While I have resorted to dipping them in warm water and scrubbing with a rough cloth, this tends to scrape off a lot of the essential oils too, any thoughts on a better method (aside of buying unwaxed citrus that is)? (Great idea for invigorating a pan/drippings sauce, btw!)

Bbq Dude said...

I find a rough scrub with a dry cloth can get most of the wax off. But unwaxed lemons from friends with lemon trees are the best.

Ethan Danstrom said...

Thanks so much for this description. I came from a link in the lamb post, and now I am imagining the two flavors together + the herbs.

I am happy to see another cast iron skillet on the grill. Over time I have won people over, but most die hard grillers want the "grill flavor" which with 80/20 chuck is basically soot.

Bbq Dude said...


Yeah, I like a combination of grilling techniques, including direct, indirect and putting a pan over the fire. Frying bacon over a fire is pretty decadent. I'd like to get some bigger cast iron surfaces to cook on the grill to use larger chunks of meat, but that's a purchase for another day.

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