Charred Meyer Lemon Chutney

Filed under: Recipes , Tags: , , , — Author: Caron Golden , May 19, 2014

As personal chefs we’re awfully good at creating delicious, nutritious, ready-to-eat meals for clients. But how many of us also develop little extras that can lift an otherwise satisfying dish into something truly memorable? Extras like condiments–salsas, unique mustards, aioli, pickled vegetables, or some other treat?

Our friend Caron Golden, a food writer in San Diego, loves to meet with chefs in their kitchens so they can teach her a dish or technique, which she then shares with readers in her blog San Diego Foodstuff. About a year and a half ago she spent time in the kitchen of Terra, a restaurant in San Diego’s East County with a local, seasonal focus. Terra’s sous chef at the time, a young man named Pablo Ibarra, taught her how to make Charred Meyer Lemon Chutney. Winter, of course, is prime time for Meyer lemons–well, for citrus in general–although we still have Meyer lemons and conventional Eureka lemons on our trees and can generally find them year round.

Mise en place

This chutney is sublime with chicken, seafood, and pork. It’s got a mellow combination of tart and sweet. Make it with thicker skinned Eureka lemons and you get an additional intriguing bitterness, not unlike marmalade. This recipe calls for relatively few ingredients, but of course that means they have to be top quality.

Set up your mise en place with minced shallots, sliced green onions, sugar and salt. Neatly cut a couple of  lemons into quarter-inch slices, hold each slice up to the light to track down seeds, then use fork tines to pop them out.

You’ll need a couple of sauté pans, one for charring the lemons, the other for sautéing the shallots. Pour a bit of canola oil into each before firing up the burners. Once the pans heat up add the lemon slices into one, then toss the lemons around to get both sides blackened and sizzling. In the other pan, sauté the shallots, and then add the little caramelized pieces to the charred lemons.

Caramelized lemons

Next comes the sugar and salt–if you’re working with Eureka lemons, add a little extra lemon juice and sugar that the sweet juicy Meyers would otherwise provide. (You might also consider adding some chopped, sautéed chiles for heat.)

Just before removing the mixture from the heat, stir in the green onions. The chutney will be almost done, but there is one optional task left: chopping up the rings of lemons. Here, we used Eureka lemons and you can see they’re still fairly firm, but Meyer lemons would collapse. In this case you might choose leave them alone.

Pablo Ibarra’s Charred Meyer Lemon Chutney

2 Meyer lemons, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds, seeded
2 shallots, minced
2 tablespoons green onions, sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt to taste
(Whole grain mustard)
Canola oil

1. Add oil to sauté pan (not nonstick) and heat to high temperature. Carefully add lemon slices and cook on both sides until browned.
2. Sauté shallots in a second pan until caramelized. Add to lemons, along with sugar and salt. Once the mixture begins to turn soft, add the green onions.
3. Remove from heat and chop the lemon peels. If you want to add a little spice or boldness, you can add a teaspoon or so of whole grain mustard.

Serve with tuna, any kind of firm white fish, pork tenderloin, or chicken (or spread on toast).

Grouper with Charred Lemon Chutney

Grouper with Charred Lemon Chutney

Do you make condiments for your clients that complement the meals you prepare for them? What are your/their favorites?

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Caron Golden


Founder of premier organization of personal chefs inspires students to follow their dreams of culinary entrepreneurship.

Candy Wallace, executive director of the American Personal & Private Chef Association (APPCA), today was recognized by Sullivan University’s National Center for Hospitality Studies as its 33rd Distinguished Guest Chef.

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