Here it is another amazing recipe that shows how great is a simple but fresh food. In this case a southern Italian lemon, beautiful, extremely perfumed, tasty, and not sour or bitter at all (and rich of vitamins)! Plus a good extra virgin olive oil, a good chili and a good fresh mint from the garden, everything very healthy and good, and simple 😉
Usually one of the rules in the kitchen is “use the zest but take care not to remove the white albedo because is bitter”, right? Well, in this case you can forget about that 🙂
I still had few big lemons from the ones I brought back from Italy not long ago, and I decided to use in this refreshing salad which is a typical summer dish in many parts of southern Italy, as in Campania, in Calabria and in Sicily (in particular this version made using also cooked must is common in Ischia island).
It’s a simple recipe but yes, I know that in this case it will not be easy to make it everywhere, even if these lemons nowadays are possible to find also in some neighboring countries, maybe in some deli stores importing also particular fresh fruits.
If you cannot find them then you have one more excuse to visit those wonderful places in Italy and try this recipe and many others directly there 🙂
You can make well this recipe only with this kind of lemons. Actually what I had it was already a good lemon for this use, but in Ischia, Procida, Amalfi Coast areas they have a lemon called “limone pane” (literally “lemon bread”) which has a much more developed white albedo, it can reach a weight of 800-900 grams and that’s perfect for this use.
HERE you can see how it is, simply beautiful.
Let’s see how to make it.
INGREDIENTS (1-2 people):
- 1 lemon with a thick albedo, those which are not sour, and untreated (mine was about 400-450 g)
- 1 fresh chili, or just half
- fresh mint, 4-5 leaves about
- 1 clove of garlic (or even better the green leaves of the fresh garlic)
- a generous amount of a good extra virgin olive oil
- cooked must, optional (I used the Saba, which is basically the same)
- First of all peel the lemon, remove all the zest. Then cut it into slices of about 5 mm thick, and cut each slice in half or in 4 pieces.
- Put the slices of lemon in a bowl and season with salt. Mix.
- Add the chili cut into pieces, one clove of garlic (just hit it with the blade of a knife, we’ll remove it later, it just has to release its aroma, I remove it before serving), the leaves of mint and a generous amount of good extra virgin olive oil. Mix well together.
- Add also the cooked must if you have it (just a bit, not too much, to add a sweeter note), mix again and let the lemon salad rest for at least 15-20 minutes, so all the ingredients combine perfectly together. Easy and amazing 🙂 It’s perfect next to some fish, or you could simply eat it just when you are hot and you need something fresh 🙂 nothing forbid you to try with a good orange (there are also many good salads with that, for example I love the salad with orange and fennel bulbs), but obviously it’s different.
I had also a perfect excuse to use the deep dish we bought last summer in Vietri sul Mare 😀
PS: I was reading that the white albedo has various nutritional properties: it helps the body to absorb vitamin C more easily, it’s rich in fiber and antioxidant molecules which allow to counteract cellular aging, it’s rich in bioflavonoids useful for blood circulation and the health of capillaries, and it has antiseptic and balsamic effects to fight infections of the respiratory tract.
So the fact that with this kind of lemons is possible to eat and enjoy a thicker albedo makes this recipe even more interesting.
In any case it’s very good and refreshing, that’s what I care the most 😀