Zest for life
Whether it’s the ritual of Friday night fish and chips smothered in lemon juice on the couch at home, or the amazing taste of my grandmothers cooking when I was a child, these memories equally provided an introduction to my favourite ingredient; one which I now cannot live without: the lemon.
After salt and pepper, lemon is the most common seasoning ingredient in the world. Simply put, every meal needs a balance of savoury, sweet, and sour notes, as salt brings the savoury note and most ingredients have natural sweetness, lemon juice brings the sourness that completes the balance. Its juice is a flavour catalyst that helps enhance and pronounce an ingredient’s flavour. Its zest has a wonderful tang and bright aroma that can be used in everything from a salad dressing to a creamy vanilla mousse served with fresh strawberries for a simple dessert.
For the home cook, the objective is simple. You want to feed yourself something that tastes kickass in as little time as possible, with as little effort as possible. The key to this is simplicity, which is why lemons are really all you need.
So, next time you’re standing at your semi-empty fridge, staring glass-eyed at that big juicy steak and regretting your limited ‘chefability’, simply rip that sucker out of there and lather it with heaps of olive oil, salt and pepper and whack it on a smoking hot BBQ. Cook it till medium rare, pair with some steamed broccoli and roast potatoes. Serve with a knob of butter and a squeeze of juice from the biggest, freshest lemon you can find. Believe me, you really won’t be disappointed with the result.
Tom is the co-founder and managing director of Tom&Serg in Al Quoz, tomandserg.com