Thursday, August 16, 2012

Meyer Lemon-Goat Cheese Risotto & Seared Salmon with Meyer Lemon Cream Sauce...Featuring Frieda's Meyer Lemons

This month, my friends at Frieda's Specialty Produce offered to send me some Meyer lemons to cook with. Be still my heart...Meyer lemons are on my short list of favorite items! I wanted to come up with a recipe to feature them that would knock it out of the park. Rather than going with the sweet route, I decided to feature them in a fabulous one-two punch: to flavor risotto AND in a creamy lemon sauce served over seared salmon. This dish looks fancy, but I served it for dinner after work on Monday. I was able to sear the salmon at the same time I stirred the risotto...and I made the quick lemon sauce while the salmon and risotto cooled of just a bit. 

If you've never tried Meyer lemon before, please do yourself a favor and buy one. They are a cross between a traditional lemon and a mandarin. That means that they're sweeter and less acidic than regular lemons. Frieda's describes the flavor as light lemon with light herbal flavors. They are perfect for when you want citrus, but less pucker. They have a fairly short season, so grab them when you see them in your local produce department. My Texas readers can find them at most local HEB grocery stores.

This risotto is fabulous...anytime Michael asks for seconds, I know a dish is a winner. If I had more left, I think he would've asked for thirds! I was out of white wine and didn't want to go back out in the heat, so I just used some merlot instead. It gave the risotto a pretty pinkish-purple color. If you have white wine in your kitchen, feel free to use it. This risotto is flavored with Meyer lemon juice and zest, shallot, goat cheese, and basil. The lemon sauce for the salmon contained butter, Meyer lemon juice, cream, and salt & pepper. When combined, this was an out-of-this-world flavor combo!!

Meyer Lemon-Goat Cheese Risotto
and Seared Salmon with Lemon Cream Sauce
Risotto adapted from Epicurious

Step 1:  In a large saucepan, add 2 tbs. olive oil. I had some blood orange-infused olive oil, so I used that to add to the citrus flavor, but regular EVOO is fine. Add 1/3 cup diced shallot and heat on med-high until softened...about 4-5 minutes. Add 1 cup arborio rice and stir to coat the rice with the oil. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes, until the rice starts to toast. Add 1/2 cup wine (I used merlot since I had it on hand, but white is standard). Stir to combine and cook, stirring constantly, until the wine evaporates into the rice.

Step 2:  Heat 4 cups chicken stock until it simmers...the microwave is the quickest way to do it. Lower the heat to medium and add the stock in 1/2-cup increments, stirring continuously. As the stock is absorbed into the rice, add more stock. Don't rush it...good risotto takes about 30 minutes. You may not use all of the stock; after three cups of the stock is used, check to see if the rice is al dente. If not, keep adding the stock until it is. When the rice is cooked and creamy, turn off the heat. Add the following ingredients: the juice of one small Meyer lemon, the zest of the Meyer lemon, 2 tbs. butter, 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese, and 3-4 basil leaves cut in a chiffonade. Stir to combine.

Step 3: Heat 1-2 tbs. olive oil in a non-stick skillet over med-high heat. Season 1 lb. salmon pieces with salt and pepper. Sear for about 5 minutes on both sides, then set aside. To make the lemon cream sauce, add the following ingredients to a small saucepan: 1/2 stick butter, the juice of one Meyer lemon, 1/2 cup half-and-half, and salt & cracked black pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the sauce reduces and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon -- about 5 minutes, give or take.

Step 4: To serve, spoon some of the risotto onto a plate. Top with a piece of the seared salmon. Spoon some of the lemon cream sauce on top of the salmon, and serve with a slice of Meyer lemon on top for a bit of eye appeal. Then? Get ready for rave reviews!!

The first thing out of my mouth when I tasted this dish was, "Damn, that's GOOD!" The risotto is creamy and rich thanks to the citrusy 1-2 punch of Meyer lemon juice and zest...but the citrus wasn't pucker-up tart. The goat cheese paired perfectly with the lemon and shallot, and the basil gave a nice herbal background flavor. The salmon was from the Colombia River in Oregon, so it didn't need more than simple salt and pepper for seasoning...especially when it was topped with the creamy lemon sauce. Put it all together, and you've got one amazing dish that's suitable for company...or a just-the-two-of-us dinner!

Disclaimer: Frieda's Specialty Produce sent me a six-pack of Meyer lemons to facilitate this post. As always, my opinions are my own.


  1. Yum! I've heard of Meyer lemons, but I had no idea what they were. Hope I can find some, this sounds delish!

  2. I am in love with Meyer lemons. IN LOVE. I'm always looking for new ways to use them. SCORE! I'm making this!

    P.S.~ Are you gone yet? (I'm living vicariously through you!)

  3. Your dish looks delicious! I try to buy Meyer Lemons when they are in season. I love the flavor of them. Not as tart as a lemon. Hope you have a great weekend. Hopefully we can get together soon and have lunch. I want to hear about your fabulous trip:)

  4. Such a nice pairing of the salmon and the creamy delicious risotto! I'd be asking for seconds too!


I love hearing your feedback!!!