As I’ve mentioned before, pickings are a little slim in the winter gardens here at Sunset. For this week’s recipe, a bright-tasting salad with a citrus dressing, I turned to my good old friend the Meyer lemon. I plucked some beauties from the tree below:
Typically, when you grill halved lemons, it brings out their sweetness and concentrates their flavor. Today, this was not the case. After grilling my lemon halves and tasting the juice, I found that it was still quite tart. Perhaps I should have let the lemons ripen on the tree a little longer? If I had, I could have chopped up the slightly sweet skin and added it to my vinaigrette for this simple salad; instead, I went to plan B and used just the juice. But I think you’ll still enjoy it.
As is often the case in the kitchen, you have to be ready to adapt a recipe and make the best use of what you’ve got. If you have a Meyer tree at home, the lemons can last, hanging on the tree, into the spring when they will be sweeter and you can enjoy them skin and all.
Baby spinach and carrot salad with grilled lemon vinaigrette and feta
I made this with some particularly cute baby carrots, labeled “petites carrottes,” that we had left over from a recent recipe.
Baby carrots, a handful or so
1/4 cup plus 1 tsp. olive oil, divided
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
2 Meyer lemons, halved
2 qts. baby spinach
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1. Preheat oven to 425°. In a rimmed baking pan, toss carrots with about 1 tsp. oil (you need enough to coat them) and a little salt and pepper. Roast carrots until lightly golden and just tender, about 10 minutes.
2. Heat a grill to high, then put lemons on grate, cut side down. Cook until lemons are quite soft and dark grill marks have formed, about 5 minutes. Remove lemons from grill and let cool slightly, then juice.
3. Whisk together 2 tbsp. lemon juice, 1/4 cup oil, and salt and pepper to taste. In a large bowl, toss spinach with carrots, feta, and dressing to lightly coat.