by Kay Baumhefner
When It’s Raining Lemons and Our Palates Need Refreshing —
Feeling seasonally dulled down after all the holiday excesses, lingering long dark nights, cloudy skies and looming taxes now due too soon? Fortunately, sunny citrus fruits always seem to arrive in the nick of time to reawaken our senses like the flush in a sneak preview of spring. And year round, this truly simple dressing is always dependably clean and bright, as well as extremely versatile. What with no concerns about which vinegar(s) to choose in the making of a vibrant vinaigrette, this citronette leaves you free to focus only on the acid (in lemon and mustard) versus salt balance. So just whisk it up and tweak as needed to please your own taste buds and particular brand of mustard. Then make the most of it as your reliable go-to with both tender and hearty greens, asparagus, artichokes, baby leeks, new potatoes, carrots, cabbage, salads of all kinds, seafood, poultry…
I’ve taught a more formal version of this recipe in class with countless variations on the theme. Now you can play with this casual one to make up more of your own and embellish to your heart’s desire (see some of the possibilities listed below).
Casual Recipe for Citronette
You’ll Need …
- your favorite mustard [about 1/2 tsp.]
- salt [about 1/2 tsp.]
- strained fresh Eureka lemon juice [about 2 Tb.]
- black pepper [about 6 grinds]
- extra-virgin olive oil [1/2 cup]
To Make …
- Whisk together the first 4 ingredients.
- Then whisk in the oil.
- Taste carefully for acid-salt balance.
and Play with …
Mustard: I love the assertive balance in authentic Edmond Fallot brand French Dijon. Add more if your chosen mustard is mild.
Salt: I prefer the depth of flavor in finely ground grey sea salt.
Lemon Juice: You can substitute twice the amount of less acidic Meyer lemon juice, and/or increase the amount of mustard to keep things lively if you’re not using Eureka lemons.
Easy Embellishments: You can always add minced shallots/scallions/chives, chervil/thyme/tarragon/parsley, and/or a little spoonful of roasted nut oil for more layers of flavor, texture and color. Then there are the endless possibilities in sweet, hot or smoky spices; raw and roasted garlic; capers; anchovies; cheese; heavy or sour cream…Go crazy.
Bon Appetit! — Kay
… and thanks, Eileen!
Originally published February 3, 2016 on Come Home to Cooking.