Lemon rinds add flavour to roasts, make a versatile salty preserve and give summer salads a sharp boost.
Good lemons are knobbly, juice-filled and can be eaten whole, like apples – rind, flesh, the lot. But it wasn’t until I visited Sicily that I really understood what a proper lemon tasted like. Stout trees populate the villages, littering the ground with their fruit and, in season, lemons are eaten in abundance, squeezed over fish, chargrilled vegetables and even used whole in salads.
The lemon is my desert-island ingredient, and the only imported produce we use at Poco Tapas Bar in Bristol (all our other fresh produce is sourced from farms within 50 miles). Lemon juice elevates and brings any dish to life, so we make sure to use this wonderful fruit to its fullest.
Lemon rinds are an aromatic and flavourful ingredient that can be used in all sorts of ways, so save them in the fridge: use as flavour-giving trivets for roast vegetables or meat, fry slices to add to salads, preserve them in salt, or make today’s flavour-packed salad, which a Sicilian friend taught me.
If you do plan to eat an entire lemon, however, buy unwaxed organic fruit, which isn’t treated with fungicides like mass-produced lemons: yes, it will cost more, but it will ultimately work out cheaper, because you’ll be able to use the whole fruit, much of which would normally end up in the bin.
Caper and lemon rind salad
Squeeze the juice out of one unwaxed organic lemon and save for another dish. Chop the rind into 5mm-10mm-wide strips and put in a bowl. Add half as many capers and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, season with a little pepper and serve with salad leaves or as a salsa. You’ll never look back.