Flavor of the Month: Meyer Lemons

The mellow yellow citrus is here to brighten winter dishes.
By the time winter rolls around, the fresh produce of early fall is a distant memory, and the late-spring harvest feels too far away. That’s why you’ll find chefs and in-the-know home cooks lingering in the citrus section, where Meyer lemons make a temporary but memorable appearance from late November through early March. A cross between regular lemons and mandarin oranges, Meyers are smaller, smoother, and sweeter than their conventional lemon counterparts. They’re loaded with juice that’s bright and flavorful, without the face-contorting tartness of traditional lemons. Local chefs feature them in sweet and savory dishes, taking advantage of the mellowed-out pure lemon taste. Patachou Inc. executive chef Tyler Herald likes the complexity of flavor and uses the juice and zest in vinaigrettes for hearty winter salads. Late Harvest Kitchen’s Ryan Nelson softens the lemon by salt-preserving it, then juliennes it before tossing with green-curry mussels. At Gallery Pastry Shop, Ben Hardy makes lemon-cream éclairs, and whips up a Meyer lemon curd he uses in crepes, tarts, and macarons.