I do my best not to complain about life's most mundane. But guys, it's freaking cold and I am longing for spring. This announcement (or statement of the obvious) is coming from one of those weird sub species of human that loves winter. I look forward to the dark days, the snow, skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, hearty winter meals, the list could go on. You see, winter is my time of rest. Before I lose all of our readership, rest assured that I enjoy summer. It's just that during the summer months I feel this pressure to take advantage of every ounce of daylight and warm weather. I love the busyness, and feel more productive when I am balancing 10 different side projects. But I need the winter months to rest. To lounge around reading books and catching up on movies. Eating soup and drinking warm tea.
January is finding me restless this year. I am in full survival mode here and although I am still spending time outside as I train for this race, the days until spring are being counted down and my cooking has shifted from peasant winter food to bright meals that belong on a summer patio.
This brings me to Meyer lemons, also known as the greatest thing that can be found in a winter kitchen. Meyer lemons are variety of lemon that are thought to be a cross between a mandarin orange and a lemon. Honestly I don't really care where they came from, the first time I tried a Meyer lemon I became a convert and because they can be hard to find, I have also been known to hoard them when they show up in supermarkets during January. I've eaten them in ice cream, on pizzas, in lasagna, in tarts, and even just peeled and consumed! I know, first I love winter and then I ate a lemon like it was an orange. It sounds totally nuts but I am asking you to eat whole chunks of lemon on top of grilled shrimp, and if you pair it with a margarita I promise you will be lulled out of your winter blues.
Grilled Citrus Shrimp + Meyer Lemon Salsa
Adapted from Bon Appetit January 2012
Serves 2, but can be easily doubled
1 lb black tiger shrimp (This ended up being about 20 shrimp for me, may vary for you depending on the size)
6 Meyer lemons
2 Tbsp. scallions, thinly sliced
Pinch of red peppers (the recipe called for a serrano chile, which I thought would be delicious but didn't have one on hand)
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp. mint, chopped
Pinch of sugar
Kosher salt to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
For the shrimp: Toss the shrimp with the zest 2 of the meyer lemons (use the rest of the lemon for another use), 1/4 cup parsley, and 1/4 cup olive oil. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Heat your grill to high, season shrimp with salt and pepper and grill the shrimp 1 to 2 minutes per side until just cooked through. Serve with Meyer lemon salsa.
For the salsa: Cut the peel and white pith from lemons. I found the easiest way to do this was to cut the stem end off of both sides of the lemon to create a flat surface, then stand the fruit up on the flat end and cut the peel off following the contours of the fruit. Working over a medium bowl, cut between the membranes of the fruit to release segments into bowl. This was a little tricky, and I found that if I first cut the segment in half horizontally, it was easier to cut around the segment releasing it into the bowl. Be sure and catch the juice! Discard the membranes and strain the juice into a bowl.
Combine the segments, 2 Tbsp. strained juice (reserving the rest for another use), pinch of sugar, 2 Tbsp. parsley, mint, pinch of red peppar flakes and salt/pepper to taste. Let the flavors blend together at room temperature until ready to serve with shrimp.