It has been a while since I have participated in an ICSA so I was excited to see this challenge posted at a time when I could join, especially since the ingredient is lemon. I love lemon and when I think of lemon I think of freshness, summer, and seafood. So, my dishes will represent what I think of as a light, fresh meal that is perfect for the last bit of summer.
I read that lemon pairs well with goat cheese and nuts so I decided to start with a different take on the typical cheese boards I have prepared in the past. I prepared two cheeses and some lemon themed compliments for the appetizer (or a light lunch).
Cheese Board: Lemon Honey Goat Cheese with Fresno Peppers and Shallots & Goat Cheese with Lemon Honey Walnuts
Lemon Honey Goat Cheese
8 oz soft goat cheese
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp vinegar (I used Honey White Balsamic)
1-2 tsp lemon zest
1-2 fresno peppers,thinly sliced
1 shallot, thinly sliced
Goat Cheese topped with Lemon Honey Walnuts
8 oz firm goat cheese
1 cup walnuts, chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
3-4 tbsp honey
Peppers, nuts, and grapes can be prepared in advance.
1. Slice shallots and fresno peppers into thin strips.
2. Mix peppers and shallots with 1 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tbsp vinegar and then let sit for at least 30 minutes.
3. Using a food processor or blender mix the goat cheese, 2 tbsp lemon juice, and 2 tbsp honey. Add lemon zest, chives and pepper to taste then mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
4. Mix chopped walnuts, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp lemon zest, and 3 tbsp honey. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for a few minutes.
5. Plate soft goat cheese mix on plate or cheese board and top with pepper/shallot mix.
6. Slice hard goat cheese and lay out on cheese board. Top with walnuts.
7. Add crackers and halved grapes then serve!
This cheese board actually ended up being a late lunch this past weekend. It was light but full of flavor. I had never paired cheese and lemon before but the combination was excellent. The sour lemon flavor and sweet honey reduced the bitterness of the goat cheese. The crunchy sweet and sour walnuts also added a different texture to the dish. I will definitely be making this again. It would make a great appetizer when entertaining guests since most of it can be prepared in advance.
For the main courses I wanted to do a refreshing meal to keep things light. I love the buttery sweetness of shrimp and garlic but you know what makes the combination even better? Lemon! So, my idea was to pair shrimp with some bitter broccolini and lemon.
Garlic Lemon Shrimp with Parmesan Lemon Breadcrumbs
1 lb shrimp
12 cloves garlic
6 thinly sliced
3 tbsp lemon juice
2-4 tsp lemon zest (according to your taste, I used about 3 or 4)
¼ cup and 2 tbsp olive oil
Parmesan cheese, shredded
½ cup panko
1 bay leaf
Salt, pepper, paprika (as needed)
1. Prepare shrimp - clean and rinse. Combine shrimp, 2 minced garlic cloves, and 2 tbsp olive oil in bowl. Set aside for at least 30 minutes.
2. Mix panko, parmesan, and lemon zest in bowl and then bake at 250 degrees on baking sheet for 10-15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
3. Heat large skillet over medium-low heat. Add 1/4 cup olive oil and 4 smashed garlic cloves. Heat for 8-10 minutes or until you can smell garlic and it is sizzling.
4. Remove garlic cloves from oil and set aside to cool.
5. Slice 6 garlic cloves and set aside.
6. When broccolini is almost ready, heat skillet with garlic oil to medium-low heat.
7. Once heated, add garlic and bay leaf and cook for 5-7 minutes until garlic is lightly browned.
8. Add shrimp and cook for two minutes, then flip and cook for another one to two minutes or until done. Remove from heat.
9. Plate the cooked shrimp and then top with chives and lemon parmesan breadcrumbs.
1 bunch broccolini
2 cloves garlic
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
1-2 tsp lemon zest
1. Trim and wash the broccolini. Set aside to dry.
2. Heat cast iron skillet over low heat and cook sliced shallots until soft. Add 2 cloves minced garlic and cook for two minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
3. Turn up heat to medium.
4. Add broccolini to pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5 minutes. Flip the broccolini, season again, and then cook for another 5 minutes. Turn down heat.
5. Add lemon juice, zest and cooked shallot/garlic then stir.
6. Plate the broccolini on the plate with the shrimp and then top with sliced almonds.
I have made shrimp this way before but I don’t usually add lemon juice or breadcrumbs. Both of the ingredients really improved the flavor of the dish. The strong lemon flavor with the combination of bitter broccolini and sweet shrimp was delicious.
Garlic was used in three ways in this recipe to add more depth to the dish. Sliced garlic is more mild while the minced garlic provides a more pungent flavor. Cooking the smashed garlic in the oil also provided a deeper garlic flavor that was enhanced by the freshness of the lemon juice.
Now we move on to a very light dessert, granita, but with lemon and a natural dye to change the color of the ice to purple.
Lemon Gin and Tonic Granita with Butterfly Pea Flower
8 butterfly pea flowers, dried
¼ cup sugar
½ cup butterfly pea flower tea
½ cup gin, Esme
1 ¾ cups tonic
¼ cup lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1. Steep the pea flowers in hot water for 2-5 minutes.
2. Make simple syrup by mixing sugar and pea flower tea (blue water!) in pot. Heat over medium heat.
3. Stir until sugar is dissolved and syrup is formed, approximately 5-10 minutes. Do not boil or else it will get too thick.
4. Mix syrup, gin, tonic, lemon juice and zest in flat dish and freeze.
5. After one to two hours, mix with fork to “fluff” ice.
6. Repeat each hour for at least four hours.
7. Place granita in lemon halves and top with flowers.
If you have not used butterfly pea flower before I highly recommend it. This was my first time. There isn’t much of a taste but it is great to use as a natural blue dye for the water. When it is mixed with citrus it changes to purple! You will see more of this in the gin and tonic as well. This was also my first time making granita. I added little yellow flowers and dried butterfly pea flowers for more color.
Finally, a cocktail to end the day. I am using a lot of the same ingredients (if not all) from the granita. Before you make this drink you should prepare by freezing the leftover blue pea flower tea in an ice cube tray.
Purple Lemon Gin and Tonic with Blue Ice
Blue ice cubes (from leftover butterfly pea flower tea)
2 shots gin, Esme
Mediterranean tonic water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
1. Add gin, tonic water, and lemon juice to a short glass.
2. Add blue ice and watch the clear liquid turn purple!
Overall, my partner and I really enjoyed all of the dishes and will make them again. They were all very light with lemon definitely being the highlight. I expected the cheese board to be good but it really surprised me. The combination of goat cheese and lemon was so much more tasty than I expected. Especially with the added bite from the fresno peppers and shallots. The honey lemon walnuts on top of the hard goat cheese was also a hit. Our dinner was the lemon garlic shrimp and broccolini which had so much flavor and matched so great together. The granita was so simple and refreshing while still being very sour (and even better the next day). I highly recommend all of these dishes for anyone that loves lemon.
|# ? Sep 27, 2018 03:43|
|# ? Mar 21, 2019 02:32|
The colour in that cocktail is gorgeous! And I want that cheese board in front of me right now.
|# ? Sep 27, 2018 07:24|
Someone paid the cat tax! Excellent.
|# ? Sep 27, 2018 10:35|
These are my hands. All of this was amazing.
|# ? Sep 27, 2018 12:57|
That cheese board sounds outstanding. And it all looks real tasty.
|# ? Sep 27, 2018 19:16|