Whatever I share today needs to somehow circle back to the roasted lemon chutney I've been slathering on everything this week. I made it from a gem of a recipe tucked deep in the back of this book. The book was part of the stack of magazines, novels, and cookbooks I brought to read last weekend when we popped up California’s Highway 1 for a couple nights on the Mendocino coast.
Roasted Lemon Chutney: The Inspiration
In the mornings, I'd sit in our little cottage, coffee in hand, and read with the front door open. Top of my pile was Molly's new book - All About Roasting. Molly is a friend, and this follow-up to her much-loved All About Braising, was eagerly anticipated by yours truly (and many of you, I'm sure). Her Roasted Apple Sauce jumped out at me immediately, and I was all set to make it once I was back home.
Now, I'm still not entirely sure what happened, but I kept glancing at the Roasted Lemon Chutney recipe, which lives a few pages back from the applesauce - and here we are. Back home, no applesauce, chutney instead, no regrets whatsoever.
How To Make Roasted Lemon Chutney
Making this chutney is quite straight-forward. You roast thin, olive oil-brushed lemon slices until they’re tender and browning. You transfer the roasted lemons to a food processor along with some shallots and olive oil. Season and finish with some fresh herbs - you're good to go.
Roasted Lemon Chutney: So Many Ways
There are so many ways to use this mildly puckery magic. I slathered the chutney on thick slabs of toasted bread with a good amount of whipped goat cheese - that's what you see in most of these photos. But really, there are so many other things you can do with it.
A couple more ideas: a dollop stirred into brown rice, chopped sautéed spinach, topped with a fried/poached egg and a touch of soy sauce. Or, incorporated into a bowl of hot pasta. Or, inside a savory crepe. Or, tossed with hot roasted potatoes, or baked potatoes, or mashed potatoes, or homemade gnocchi. You get the idea. It's super versatile, and I hope you like it as much as I did.
Here are a few other pics from our weekend away, below. The drive was pretty wild. We decided to cut over to the coast on a different road than usual. Wow - one of those decisions I'm glad we made, but probably won't repeat. Not quite dirt roads, but close!
More Lemon Recipes
Roasted Lemon Chutney
Molly notes that because you use whole lemons here, you're going to want to wash them first in warm soapy water to remove any waxy reside. Organic lemons usually don't have that, so (for that reason, and others) go that route if possible. The chutney will last for several days, refrigerated, in a jar or tightly covered.
- 1/4 cup / 1 oz / 30g finely chopped shallots
- 3 small lemons (4 to 5 oz each)
- 1/4 cup / 60 ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 1 tablespoon honey, plus more to taste
- kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped basil or mint
Heat the oven to 400°F / 205°C with a rack in the center. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
Soak the shallots in a small bowl of cold water to reduce their strength a bit.
Set one of the lemons aside to use later. Slice about 1/4-inch off both ends of the remaining lemons and discard (this part is mostly pith which can make the chutney too bitter). Slice the lemons into 1/2-inch-thick rounds (see photo), and use the tip of a knife to remove any seeds. Arrange the lemons on the baking sheet and brush with a bit of olive oil. Turn and coat the second side with oil.
Roast the lemons, turning every 10 minutes, until they are very tender with just a few spots of brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Don't let the lemons crisp, and keep an eye on the bottoms, which tend to brown before the tops. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
Transfer the lemons to a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. If there are any juices (not burned or blackened) on the baking sheet, add these. Molly notes there frequently aren't any, which was my experience as well. Drain the shallots, shaking off any excess water, and add to the processor. Add the honey and pulse several times until the lemons are coarsely chopped. Add the juice from half the remaining lemon and the 1/4 cup / 60 ml of olive oil. Continue pulsing until the chutney is fairly smooth and creamy, with just a few lemon chunks. Season generously with salt and pepper and more lemon juice or honey to taste. Keep tweaking until it really tastes great to you. For example, if it's too tart for you, just keep sweetening a bit at a time.
Transfer to a small bowl and let sit for at least 2 hours to let the flavors meld. Just before serving stir in the fresh basil or mint, taste, make any final adjustments, and serve at room temperature.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
Adapted from Molly Steven's All About Roasting: A New Approach to a Classic Art, W. W. Norton & Company, November 1, 2011