Salt Fat Acid Heat — And A Whole Meyer Lemon
Meet one of the easiest, most useful recipes you’ll ever encounter: “Meyer Lemon Salsa.”
Of course it’s from the best-selling Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking (Simon & Schuster, 2017) by Berkeley’s extraordinary Samin Nosrat.
If you haven’t yet picked up a copy of the book, do yourself a favor and get one pronto. With whimsical illustrations and a warm, engaging voice, it will teach you instantly and painlessly how to be a better cook.
And if you haven’t yet caught Nosrat’s “Salt Fat Acid Heat” four-part Netflix cooking show, binge-watch it this week. It’s thoroughly captivating and will make you fall in love with this natural-born teacher and food personality with the winning, infectious spirit.
As Nosrat writes, “A good sauce can improve a delicious dish and save a less successful one.”
“Meyer Lemon Salsa” is indeed that invaluable.
I have my friend Kiki to thank for this. With my Meyer lemon tree not producing as bountifully as it once did, she often takes pity and gifts me a big bag of them, picked fresh from her huge backyard tree.
Admittedly, with my enormous sweet tooth, I normally bake with them. But when Kiki mentioned how much she loved this lemon salsa, especially atop grilled salmon, I knew I had to try it.
This chunky salsa makes use of one entire Meyer lemon — flesh, rind, pith and all. It gets seeded, chopped up, and marinated with diced shallot in vinegar, before being mixed with chopped parsley, olive oil, and of course, salt. That’s all there is to it.
As the book’s title implies, this recipe shows just how important salt, fat, acid and heat are. The vinegar tames the bitterness of the pith while still allowing that lovely floral rind flavor to come through. The shallots add a bite, but a sweeter one that’s far less dominant than that of an onion. The olive oil provides richness and roundness. The salt brings everything together to the forefront.
In short, you get a salsa that’s fragrant, fresh, and perky.
I spooned it over shrimp that I merely cooked with salt, pepper and olive oil on a grill pan on top of the stove, and instantly, it became special.
That’s the beauty of this recipe; it’ll enliven most anything.
Meyer Lemon Salsa
(Makes about 1 1/4 cups)
1 small Meyer lemon
3 tablespoons finely diced shallot (about 1 medium shallot)
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Quarter the lemon lengthwise, then remove the central membrane and the seeds. Finely dice the cleaned lemon, including the pith and peel. In a small bowl, combine the lemon bits and any juice you can manage to save with the shallot and vinegar. Let sit for 15 minutes to macerate.
In a separate small bowl, combine the parsley, olive oil, and a generous pinch of salt.
To serve, use a slotted spoon to add the Meyer lemon and shallot mixture (but not the vinegar, yet) to the herb oil. Taste and adjust for salt and acid as needed.
Refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 days.
Serving Suggestions: As a garnish for soup; with grilled, poached, roasted, or braised fish and meat; with grilled, roasted, or blanched vegetables.
From “Salt Fat Acid Heat” by Samin Nosrat
More Meyer Lemon Recipes to Enjoy: Meyer Lemon & Thyme Hearth Bread
And: Preserved Lemons