A Zesty New Year

Fennel and Meyer Lemon Relish to start the year off right.

Fennel and Meyer Lemon Relish to start the year off right.


After all that belly-busting food of the holidays, it’s time for something light and bright to start 2014.

Best yet, this particular recipe makes use of any Meyer lemons you may still have hanging on your trees.

“Fennel and Meyer Lemon Relish” is from the new “The Art of Simple Food II” (Clarkson Potter) by the one and only Alice Waters.

The cookbook, of which I received a review copy, is filled with recipes that make the most of your kitchen garden at any time of year. Moreover, there’s even information included on taking care of your soil, building a compost pile, making compost tea and growing seedlings.

Although called a “relish,” this is almost like a salad in that it has so much delightful crunch. It couldn’t be easier to make, either.

It’s just fragrant lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon flesh, fennel, shallot, vinegar and olive oil mixed together and allowed to macerate so all their flavors combine.

It’s refreshing as can be, especially with the floral note from the Meyer lemons.

Waters suggests using it on top of grilled fish, tossed with butter lettuce or romaine for a quick salad, scattered over a plate of cured meats or spread on sandwiches. I enjoyed it piled high atop simple roasted shrimp.

This condiment is as refreshing as it gets. It’s a perfect way to perk up the new year.


Fennel and Meyer Lemon Relish

(Makes about 1 1/2 cups)

2 Meyer lemons

1 shallot

A splash of Champagne vinegar


Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small fennel bulb

Using a sharp, swivel-bladed vegetable peeler, carefully peel the zest from 2 Meyer lemons. Remove any white pith from the strips of zest. It is easily scraped away with the tip of a teaspoon. Cut the pieces of zest crosswise into a very thin julienne. Reserve peeled lemons.

Peel and finely dice the shallot. Place shallot in a small bowl with the lemon zest, juice of 1 Meyer lemon, Champagne vinegar, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well and let sit for a few minutes to macerate. Whisk in the extra-virgin olive oil. Taste for salt and acid and adjust as needed.

Trim the fronds and dark green stalks from the fennel bulb. Cut the bulb in half lengthwise and then into a fine dice. Toss with salt to taste and stir into the lemon-shallot mixture. Remove all the remaining peel from the unjuiced lemon and cut the segments from their membranes. Cut segments into a medium dice and gently stir them into the relish. Let relish sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Note: If Meyer lemons are not available, use standard lemons and omit the segments.

From “The Art of Simple Food II” by Alice Waters


More Meyer Lemon Recipes to Try: Best Damn Meyer Lemon Cake by Saveur


And: Preserved Lemons


And: Meyer Lemon and Vanilla Bean Marmalade


And: Lemon Squares


And: Microwave Meyer Lemon-Orange Marmalade with Thyme


And: Meyer Lemon Cake From Sunset


And: Fettuccine with Meyer Lemon Cream


And: Savory Braised Oxtail with Preserved Lemon Polenta by Ming Tsai

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