My mom is the most generous person I know. If you complement something she’s wearing (provided it’s not her pants!), she’s been known to take it off and give it to you. Throughout my childhood I watched as household objects found their way into the hands of guests who admired them. But ask for one of the lemons from her tree…and watch out! The shirt off her back she will gladly give, but lemons are a different story.

My mom is the most generous person I know. If you complement something she’s wearing (provided it’s not her pants!), she’s been known to take it off and give it to you. Throughout my childhood I watched as household objects found their way into the hands of guests who admired them. But ask for one of the lemons from her tree…and watch out! The shirt off her back she will gladly give, but lemons are a different story.

Recently a neighbor stopped by with a number of bottles of premium local wine. As the neighbor left, my mom gave her a handful of lemons to take home. To the casual observer this would seem like somewhat of an unfair trade; however, if you knew how closely my mom guards her lemons, you would understand that this was BIG. The lemons hang in front of her office window and throughout the year my mom watches the fragrant white blossoms turn into almond-sized green orbs and eventually become vibrant yellow balls of sweet-tart juice.

My mom’s lemons are indeed both beautiful and delicious and add zest and tang to nearly any dish. With this in mind, I did some sweet-talking and eventually was allowed a small basketful of lemons, which were carefully counted. With the 13 lemons I was given, I created a lemon inspired Italian feast. The following is one of my favorite recipes from that meal. This is a great summertime appetizer served on crostini (small rounds of toasted Italian bread brushed with olive oil) or as a salad with fresh greens like arugula or mesclun mix.

Note: This recipe was made with homegrown lemons, but store-bought lemons work equally well; however, keep in mind that they can be more tart and tend to have slightly less juice, so you may need to adjust the recipe to fit your personal taste.

   

Insalata di Frutti di Mare al Limone
Serves 2 as a salad
Serves 4-6 as an appetizer on crostini

1 lb mixed seafood (shrimp, scallops, calamari, white fish—whatever is available)
1 shallot finely diced
2 tbs capers + a bit of caper juice
1 red bell pepper, cut into small pieces
1 cucumber, peeled and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup chopped parsley from one small bunch

Dressing:
juice of 2 lemons (4 tbs)
2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper

   

Blanch the seafood in boiling water until just cooked. Drain and run under cool water or dunk in an ice bath to preserve color and stop the cooking. Mix with the other ingredients and dress with the vinaigrette. Allow the salad to marinate for at least a few hours or overnight to get the best flavor. Enjoy on crostini as an appetizer or on a bed of greens as a salad.


About Meadow Linn
Meadow Linn’s earliest childhood memories are about food. She can’t remember a time when she wasn’t mixing and inventing in the kitchen. At 18 years old, Meadow started doing gourmet catering for retreats and special events and is now the chef and owner of “Savor the Day,” which offers professional chef services and culinary adventures in the Paso Robles wine region. Passionate about the culinary arts, Meadow prepares dishes from around the world using fresh, local, and organic ingredients. While getting her Masters Degree in French Cultural Studies from Columbia University, Meadow focused her research on the History and Sociology of the Culinary Arts. In addition to catering, Meadow writes on a variety of food topics and teaches culinary arts. She is the author of the popular blog, “Savor the Day” (http://savortheday.blogspot.com/) and is currently at work on her first cookbook.

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