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Lemon on your Fish: Dry, not Wet


Mjx
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My boyfriend and I spent a large chunk of this evening motorcycling around the nearby countryside, and looking for fish and chips. Our hunt took a surprisingly long time, but we finally found a place, and the fish and chips duly arrived, accompanied by wedges of lemon.

I love lemon on fish, so I began liberally anointing a piece of breaded fish, then paused, remembering that I don't love soggy breading. I left the rest of the fish alone, and was glad I did, because the lemon juice had turned the breading on the first piece to mush.

I sat there eating, and thinking about alternative ways to get lemon (or any other citrus) on my fish. Creamy sauces are out of the question, because I find them revolting. Other sauces, such as HP Sauce, create the same sogginess issue.

I want something citrus-y but dry, salt-like, perhaps, or small flakes, ideally, with a spicy kick, like cayenne, or wasabi.

Would the best way to accomplish this involve dehydrated juice? Citric acid? Some sort of citrus zest would almost certainly be necessary, but how aggressive would the bitterness be, in something that is essentially pure flavour? Or perhaps something tart, but more substantial, like tamarind, would make for a better starting point. I can eat lemons, so 'too sour' is not a problem I'm concerned about.

Perhaps MC has something to offer in this department (or the production of wee flakes, in general)?

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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One of the powders often offered at Mexican fruit carts and stand like this one might fit the bill. The sweetness is more of a flavor enhancer rather than a perceptible sweet factor in my experience; sort of like the sugar in many seasoning salt mixtures.

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Maybe like dry lemon peel, citric acid, and cayenne pepper mixed together and sprinkled on?

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Fish in one hand, lemon wedge in the other. Alternate.

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One of the powders often offered at Mexican fruit carts and stand like this one might fit the bill. The sweetness is more of a flavor enhancer rather than a perceptible sweet factor in my experience; sort of like the sugar in many seasoning salt mixtures.

Any idea whether that's widely available? I am about 99.99999% certain I wouldn't be able to get that here, but since I'm due back in NYC in about a month, I can look for it there, if it isn't a West Coast speciality. Although I'm sort of married to the idea of making something myself.

Maybe like dry lemon peel, citric acid, and cayenne pepper mixed together and sprinkled on?

Yes! I was thinking of starting from something like this, but have a hunch it will need tweaking in one direction or another... any ideas? I'm thinking salt will have to be in there.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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I have used both True Lemon and True Lime as a flavoring for many dishes and rubs. It comes in packets and there is a shaker version. They say this is a crystallized form of both lemons and limes. It seems to be widely distributed in over 15,000 stores.

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Yes! First found it mentioned on eGullet....maybe by FG. I ordered it with free shipping at Christmas, all 3 ....lemon, lime and orange. Have since found the shakers cheaper at Christmas Tree Shop.

Tonight I used the lemon on carrots cooked with honey. Just right. Any are nice on fish.

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I'm big on zest and use citrus zest quite often when finishing a plate. Use it in dressings as well. so much flavor in such a small package. What ever citrus is on hand. Orange tangerine, lemon, limes, alone or in combination. What ever is available.

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Japanese shops usually carry yuzu salt, basically dehydrated yuzu blended into salt. Maybe a little hard to get where you are. It's generally either in little shake bottles, or sachets sold in combination packages of green tea salt, sour plum salt, and yuzu salt.

Jamie Oliver has a 'recipe' for lemon salt here.

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I've got a jar of Kroger "Lemon Pepper" seasoning - salt, pepper, citric acid, lemon peel, natural and artificial flavors, plus the usual anticaking antioxidation additives. Lemony, peppery, salty, in that order.

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Lemon Pepper Ingredients: Onion, spices (black pepper, basil, oregano, celery seed, bay, savory, thyme, cayenne pepper, coriander, cumin, mustard, rosemary, marjoram) garlic, lemon juice powder, carrot, citric acid, lemon peel, natural lemon flavor, oil of lemon, turmeric color, chili pepper.

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I understand the not wanting to get the crispy fish soggy but I favor the method of a quick squirt (for me it is usually a tart hot sauce) on the end and a bite, then the rest of the way the lemon or hot sauce gets dripped into the fish so as not to mess with the crust.

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I'm big on zest. I would just add zest to the breading. For dipping, if you don't like creamy sauce (thinking of a lemon aioli), I would use lemon butter w/ some cayenne or hot sauce. Or maybe a spicy vinegar sauce.

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How about lemongrass,dehydrated and powdered?

It's been a while since I've used it, but I don't remember lemongrass as being particularly tart, isn't it mostly about the scent..?

I'm going to take a better look and see whether anything like these exists here (I've never seen it, but I wasn't looking, either).

Japanese shops usually carry yuzu salt, basically dehydrated yuzu blended into salt. Maybe a little hard to get where you are. It's generally either in little shake bottles, or sachets sold in combination packages of green tea salt, sour plum salt, and yuzu salt.

Jamie Oliver has a 'recipe' for lemon salt here.

Is that made from yuzu pulp, or is the zest?

How about amchoor, that is, dried sour mango powder, a staple souring agent of the Indian kitchen ?

I'm going to pop round to the Pan-Asian shop around the corner, and see whether they have this (and the yuzu salt rarerollingobject mentioned).

There have been several great suggestions, and thinking them over, I've decided to put together a small batch of citrusy fish salt using citric acid, salt, lime zest, cayenne, and, I think, finely ground coriander seed. If it ends up too harsh or flat, I'm going to add a really small amount of palm sugar, and if that's still no good, I'll see how adding enough oil to make a smooth paste will work. I'm hoping a solid forage around the city centre will yield up something more complex (e.g. one of the dehydrated citrus juices, or the amchoor Blether mentioned) to replace the citric acid, which always seems best as a booster, rather then a central ingredient. A lot of the ingredients that have been suggested are going on my shopping list for my next trip back to NYC, if (as is likely) I can't find them here.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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Oh yes, and... it doesn't apply for breading, but a while back I tried making deep-frying batter using vinegar instead of water - that was successful, and with 100% vinegar, nicely tart rather than the acrid result one might fear.

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You might try dehydrating the liquid from preserved lemons, crushing it and mixing in cayenne for heat. Just a thought.

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You could try only squeezing the lemon on a piece, just before eating it?

Or another dry sour ingredient you could try is Sumac for a middle eastern fell, or Za'atar, which contains sumac.

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