Here’s a zingy topping for grilled fish or chicken, or pan seared scallops. Or, toss with boiled shrimp. This relish also adds a bright note to broccoli and pasta. You will need a very sharp knife for this recipe!
1 large shallot, finely diced
1 tablespoon rice vinegar or lemon juice
1 pinch of salt, plus more to season to taste
1 Meyer lemon, washed (use only Meyer lemons; thin skinned is best)
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped fine
1/4- 1/2 cup mint leaves, chopped fine (I like this minty and use the full 1/2 cup)
Pepper to taste
1/2 cup mild extra virgin olive oil (avoid peppery olive oils such as Tuscan)
Place the minced shallot in a non-reactive bowl with the vinegar or juice and the pinch of salt. Allow to macerate ten minutes or more.
Using your sharpest knife, cut the ends from the lemon. Now, quarter lengthwise. Shave away the center core and discard, leaving as much lemon as you can intact. Use the tip of the knife to remove any seeds and discard these. Lay each quarter flat on the board and cut lengthwise into three sections. Now, taking your time, slice across the length into the thinnest slices you can manage. Place the lemon and any juices from it into the bowl with the shallot.
Season with pepper and a pinch of salt, then add the parsley and mint. Toss to combine well.
Drizzle with some olive oil and toss to coat the mixture. Add oil until the mixture is not a paste, but not soupy or runny. Taste for balance, adding oil, salt and pepper, or vinegar as needed. This should taste more of lemon and herbs than oil.
Use right away or keep in the refrigerator a couple hours. Bring to room temperature before using. This is best used fresh, but it might last 1 day in the refrigerator before losing texture and its bright flavor. The sharpness of your knife is a big factor here — a sharper knife will give the topping more longevity and cleaner flavors with better texture. A duller knife will crush things and speed breakdown.
Try using a little rosemary in the herbs for topping chicken or “meaty” fish such as sword or tuna.
If you want a little more tang and floral notes, add a tablespoon of minced capers.
Add a few oil cured black olives, pitted and chopped finely for lamb dishes or swordfish.
Try a pinch of chili-flakes if you like a little piquancy.
A few chopped toasted pine-nuts or pistachios are also a nice touch.
YIELD: 4 servings