Friday, 5 January 2007

A Lemon Poser

Pure lemon oil is very expensive - but it goes a very long way!Last night I finished up some minced chicken I'd kept in the freezer for a while since rescuing it from college. I fancied making chicken burgers, so I sweated off some finely chopped onion and smoked garlic, cooled it off, mixed it through the mince with some Dijon mustard and finally rolled the burgers in polenta.

Knowing that minced chicken and polenta are not the most flavoursome of ingredients, I decided to try something I'd not tried before.

We think of lemon as the perfect accompaniment to fish (especially flatfish). Technically, lemon is a spice as well as a fruit (see my herbs and spices archive). I used my lemon in the purest and most concentrated form available to chefs - just three drops of pure lemon oil added to the mixture for 8 burgers.

The result was extraordinary. As you bite into the burger you get all the pleasant sensations associated with the texture, together with a rush of flavour. I think this shows lemon acting as a flavour enhancer - drawing out what little flavour is already there, in much the same way as salt does. But I'm not convinced that everyone would agree. Maybe I'm wrong and maybe some palates would just find the lemon a substitute flavour rather than a true enhancer. I'd love you to try this and let me know what you think.

5 comments:

The TriniGourmet said...

in trinidad no chicken or fish is prepared without being drenched in lime juice first. people view with suspicion when cooking shows just put the meat in the oven or on the fire without any 'rub down' first lol :D

Kalyn said...

Hi Trig,
Just came here from FBS to say you were awfully nice to give so much help and advice to Alysha. Really thoughtful. And congrats on the nominations too.

lindy said...

I haven't used lemon oil this way, but I do use lemon juice a whole lot, and consider lemons among the most indispensible and multi-use foods. If I make a chicken or turkey burger, I usually do serve it with a wedge of lemon to squeeze over it. Likewise soups made with pulses.

I'm pretty crazy about limes too as af lavor enhancer...I've only used the oils in baking, though. There's something nice about squeezing the fresh juice on things, but maybe the difference is mostly in my mind?

Re the nomination: It's obvious that you are really enjoying yourself doing this..and that has a lot to do with making it fun to read. Good work!

Trig said...

That's the question Lindy - is it in the mind or on the tongue? Lemon (in temperate climates) and lime (in tropical climates - hi, Sarina) are an essential part of almost every cuisine on the planet. My feeling is that they both provide flavour and enhance existing flavours. I must do some research into this.

Trig said...

Cheers Kalyn, I'm fairly new to blogging myself, but I try to help others wherever I can. After all, that's what being part of a community is all about


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