Lemons, the ubiquitous and essential ingredient in kitchens the world over. We squeeze the juice into this and that, preserve them, grate their rind, and candy them. I have dehydrated lemon slices – not pretty but oh goodness, the flavour they added to dishes! Rarely do we think of roasting them.
But that must change. Something magical happens to citrus when it hangs out in a hot oven. It takes on a sweeter, slightly-burnt complexity. They add flavour to any dish, but are also good on their own!
This recipe is from Plenty More from Ottolenghi, and is part of our project to cook through this book. You might like to see our thoughts on the different chapters of this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.
Seek out the sweetest tomatoes you can get for this dish, to balance the tartness of the lemon: baby or cherry yellow and red tomatoes are your best bet.
It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one day per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.
Tomato and Roasted Lemon Salad
2 medium lemons, cut in half lengthways and cut into 2mm slices, pips removed
3 Tblspn olive oil
flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
0.5 tspn caster sugar
8 sage leaves, finely shredded
400g baby or cherry tomatoes (yellow or red ones, or a mixture of both), cut in half
0.33 tspn ground allspice
10g picked parsley leaves
15g picked mint leaves
seeds from one pomegranate
1.5 Tblspn pomegranate molasses
0.5 small red onion, peeled and finely sliced
Heat the oven to 150C.
Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil, add the lemon slices, blanch for 90 seconds, then drain. Repeat twice more, then drain a final time and dry.
Put the lemon in a bowl and pour over a tablespoon of olive oil, salt, the sugar and sage. Gently mix, then spread out on a parchment-lined baking tray. Roast for 20 minutes, until the lemons have dried out a little. Remove and set aside to cool.
Put all the other ingredients in a bowl with the remaining oil, a little salt and some freshly ground pepper. Add the lemon slices, stir gently and serve.
recipe notes and alternatives
Yotham’s method for roasting lemons makes sure the skins are soft and flavour is maximised. But if you re running short of time, simply slice the lemons, mix with the oil, salt, sugar and sage, and roast.
Intensify the flavours of the tomatoes by quickly roasting them as well.
Barberries are a good substitute if pomegranates are not available.