It seems like I have picked at least a hundred pounds of Meyer lemons off my trees, yet every time I look at them they are still loaded with fruit! I’m not complaining about it though. I love these lemons, and their versatility. Their scent is floral, sweet and totally intoxicating. Their taste is sublime. Just like I did as a child, my daughter will eat them right off the tree. I love my lemons.
But what to do with my abundance of lemons? Lemon curd, preserved lemons, cookies, cakes, lemonade, etc. etc. etc.! All good choices, but I wanted to think outside of the box. As I was walking into my house I passed my little jalapeno bush. It is a scraggly, gnarled little plant that always seems to have jalapenos on it! I don’t feed it, barely water it, but it keeps giving me peppers. Having a toddler preschool aged child, I don’t cook with them as often as I would like, as my daughter tends to yell “Too spicy mommy!” So I keep the hot sauce and peppers at a minimum these days.
It’s time for those jalapenos to be shown some respect, so I came up with a recipe that features them alongside my beloved lemons. This lemon and jalapeno relish is a great compliment to fish, chicken or pork. It can also be spooned over grilled or roasted vegetables. The fresh citrus bite, along with heat of the jalapeno really brightens flavor.
Organic Meyer Lemon and Jalapeno Relish
1 1/2 TB finely grated Meyer lemon zest
2 small jalapenos, extra small dice
2 TB pine nuts
2 TB lemon olive oil
1 tsp Za’atar spice*
1/2 tsp sea salt
juice of one Meyer lemon
In the picture below you can see how fine the zest is grated, and how small the jalapenos are diced. This is important so your mouth is not overwhelmed by either the citrus or the heat of the pepper. If you do not have a microplane zester, chop the lemon zest as fine as you can with a knife.
I call for a lemon olive oil, but the actual oil I used is a specialty olive oil from O & Co that is flavored with clementines and lemons. The citrus flavor is so intense and fresh, and is an excellent drizzling oil.
In a small bowl, combine the zest, diced jalapenos, olive oil, Za’atar spice, salt and lemon juice.
In a small skillet over a medium high flame, toast the pine nuts.
Pine nuts can go from raw to burned seemingly at the speed of light, so be careful while toasting them. I know how quickly they can burn, and I still burned the first batch! Do Not Walk Away From The Stove While Toasting Pine Nuts!
Let the pine nuts cool, then add them to the relish. At this point let the relish sit for a couple of hours to let the flavors meld. The relish is best eaten within a couple of days, so make it when you know you will use it. I sauteed a salmon fillet, and spooned the relish over it. Very tasty, indeed!