Meyer lemons were on the menu at the first Mystery Ingredient Club event, and they
caused a bit of a ruckus in my kitchen.
My husband was horrified that I would prepare something exotic and inedible (it happens). Will is the type of physician who is dead calm in emergencies, the kind of doc you want in a life or death situation. But he can get excited about food, and not in an anticipatory, lip-smacking way. I'm not saying he's an ole stick in the mud.
But he doesn't want anyone messing with his dinner.
That said, if a category existed for Missionary Position food, it would be his favorite.
"What are you doing with those rubbery-looking lemons?" he asked when he saw me open the "mystery ingredient" jar.
"I don't know," I admitted.
It was the truth. I didn't have a clue what to do with a Meyer. I'd been attracted to the pretty jar, and now I'd saddled nine sweet bloggers with the responsibility of preparing recipes for the MIC party.
If you missed the recap of the MIC's feast, click HERE to meet the great cooks who participated in the event--they prepared ambrosial food, the kind that will have you rushing to make a grocery list.
"Well, I have an idea," Will said. He channeled Elvis for a moment, then he requested a fish sandwich, thinking (hoping?) that I would use lemons as a garnish,
keeping them far, far away from his nourishment.
I kept looking for ideas and found one (see below). But I had promised to cook a Missionary position sandwich, and I keep my promises.
So Meyer lemons were discreetly tucked into a fried Tilapia Po'boy.
I gathered up my leftover Meyers and studied a recipe at The View from Great Island.
I would deep fry portabella mushrooms and make a sort of lemony aioli dipping sauce.
This is an anti-Will recipe for sure, but he loves anything that's deep fried, and I decided to give it a whirl. Note: If you want to see how it's done "proper," as we say down South, please visit The View from Great Island.
To Make the Batter:
2 c buttermilk
1 c all purpose flour
(I added sea salt, pepper, lemon salt, and preserved Meyer lemon bits.)
Whisk buttermilk and flour. Add seasonings.
I set up a "frying" station. I put flour in one large plastic (shallow)
container. Beside that, I poured the buttermilk/flour mixture into another container. Next to that, I
put a cookie sheet (for the "dipped" mushrooms to have a landing place on their way to the frying pot).
I don't have a deep fat fryer, so I poured canola oil into a Dutch oven.
It's best to fry only a few mushrooms at a time. Turn them over once or twice--or thrice.
When the mushrooms are brown and crisp, transfer to a serving platter (line it with paper towels).
These mushrooms tend to get soggy after a while--if you have any leftovers, that is.
Expect amazing flavors when you combine portabellas and lemony things.
The batter is a 2:1 mixture of buttermilk and flour, which I seasoned liberally with sea salt, pepper, lemon salt, and the Meyer lemon "bits" (see above).
After frying the first batch, I made the aioli:
preserved Meyer lemons (juice and pulp)
freshly ground pepper
(I added fresh minced garlic and a little honey, too)
I texted a photo to my eldest son, Chef Trey,
and he texted back: "Porta-too-mucha. Less is more!"
Soon the platter was empty.
Will gave the mushrooms a thumb's up.
By making these fries, I stepped out of my culinary comfort zone -- and Will's.
But it was worth it.