Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Lemon in Italian red sauce?


steakas
 Share

Recommended Posts

My mother-in-law is part Italian and was raised with Italian cooking. My mother isn't Italian. Both make very good red sauce. However my mother adds lemon juice to her sauce. Both my wife and mother-in-law say lemon is a big "no-no". In fact, they both laugh about it.

I don't know??? Please give me your thoughts...

Thanks,

:Dave

:D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am not Italian so what do I know. I have never seen a recipe that included lemon juice. I have spritzed a bit of lemon into a red sauce when it seemed a little "flat." I have also made a red sauce recipe that included diced preserved lemon but that was probably more of a North African recipe. Quite a nice combination as I recall. (Not that far from Italy, though.)

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never seen or heard of lemon in a traditional Italian tomato sauce, but that doesn't mean it couldn't be good. It certainly is very good in a tomato based shrimp cocktail sauce not to mention tomato juice.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Never heard of lemon in tomato sauce either. I would say it is most definitely not an Italian thing. you might find lemon rind used in some traditional sauces - mostly tomato-less, though gremolata is an exception- but I can't recall seeing juice used anywhere. On the other hand I would not say it is a no-no before I have a taste :wink: .

Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not Italian either but I too have been known to utilize lemons to add some 'brightness' to dull overcooked paste/puree sauces.

Ideally, the brightness in my sauce should come from the tomatoes, but sometimes the canned puree/paste isn't quite up to snuff. When that occurs, I may reach for a lemon. Not enough for anyone to ever say "hmmmmm... there's lemon in this," though.

Edited by scott123 (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

lemon is  used heavily in neopolitan style itialian cooking. they put it in everything. they put in soups, stews, pastas. so i wouldn't be surprised if they put it in their tomato sauce. i'm saying they do but they could.

chef koo,

being a Napoletano myself I can say that the above information is not correct. Neapolitan cooking uses lemon very sparingly, and mostly in sweets. The situation is different if you move to the islands of Capri and Procida or the Amalfi coast, where beautifull giant lemons are grown. Even there lemon is not used everywhere, rather only in particular dishes, and then everything (zest, juice, even the leaves), or eaten thinly sliced as a salad.

Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I do use lemon juice in an Italian sauce I make for fish that has tomato, but it is not a tomato sauce. Olive oil, garlic, onion, fresh oregano, anchovy, chopped black olive, tomato, lemon juice. Pan sear fresh tuna steaks and finish briefly in this sauce. Looking for balance in this one, taste each ingredient.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many years ago, I lived with a Neapolitan family (in Naples) for a while. They taught me to cook a number of wonderful things, including their tomato sauce. They most definitely did not put lemon in the sauce. In fact, they did not make one of those heavy longcooked tomato sauces that we stereotype as neapolitan. The basic recipe was chopped, very ripe (maybe overripe) tomatoes with olive oil, garlic, basil, and sometimes a splash of red wine. This was cooked for maybe 20 minutes or so.

They did squeeze lemon over pasta with olive oil and garlic though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In fact, they did not make one of those heavy longcooked tomato sauces that we stereotype as neapolitan. The basic recipe was chopped, very ripe (maybe overripe) tomatoes with olive oil, garlic, basil, and sometimes a splash of red wine.

They did squeeze lemon over pasta with olive oil and garlic though.

There's even a pasta dish with raw tomatoes in the Campania.

In summertime when I can find ripe heirlooms, I peel them and I use to sautee them for no longer than 2-3 minutes to preserve the fresh taste.

Lemon juice with tomatio sauce? For sure it's not Italian, but why not? Some people prefer Pomerol mixed with Coke, I was told.

Edited by Boris_A (log)

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

lemon is  used heavily in neopolitan style itialian cooking. they put it in everything. they put in soups, stews, pastas. so i wouldn't be surprised if they put it in their tomato sauce. i'm saying they do but they could.

chef koo,

being a Napoletano myself I can say that the above information is not correct. Neapolitan cooking uses lemon very sparingly, and mostly in sweets. The situation is different if you move to the islands of Capri and Procida or the Amalfi coast, where beautifull giant lemons are grown. Even there lemon is not used everywhere, rather only in particular dishes, and then everything (zest, juice, even the leaves), or eaten thinly sliced as a salad.

one of my teachers at school was napoletano and that's what he told me. maybe i heard wrong

bork bork bork

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is no "one" cuisine. Even within a houshold, people prepare things differently. I am sure some people do use lemon. It makes no sense to me though. Most tomato sauces need to be adjusted because they are too acidic. Adding lemon juice would likely add acidity without adding a lemon flavor. If you wanted to add lemon flavor without the acidity, you could add zest. There is no reason in my book to add juice to a big pot of marinara.

Pan sauces are different. Sure I have used diced tomato in a fish sauce and added lemon. For instance: A pan seared fish with a lemon basil butter sauce that has diced tomato thrown in.

I use my marinara as a mother sauce to derive many other dishes. For instance: Mussels marinara. I would use my marinara wine, garlic, butter, and herb elements. Zest would be welcome, but probably not juice, unless the marinara was frightfully flat.

Bottom line is: Give the sauce what it needs. To this point, I have not needed lemon in my base marinara.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

chef koo,

being a Napoletano myself I can say that the above information is not correct. Neapolitan cooking uses lemon very sparingly, and mostly in sweets. The situation is different if you move to the islands of Capri and Procida or the Amalfi coast, where beautifull giant lemons are grown. Even there lemon is not used everywhere, rather only in particular dishes, and then everything (zest, juice, even the leaves), or eaten thinly sliced as a salad.

one of my teachers at school was napoletano and that's what he told me. maybe i heard wrong

Maybe he was talking of the cuisine of the region closer to Naples too. That would definitely be closer to the truth.

Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Similar Content

    • By daniel123456789876543
      I have been making pancetta for the first time. I have experience with the curing process doing things like bacon and cold smoked salmon in the past but this is the first time I have ever hanged anything.
       
      After a week of curing it has had 11 days  hanging so far (I was planning on taking it to 28 days hanging) Although I foolishly forgot to weigh it. 
      It smells really good like some awesome salami and the outer rim of the pancetta looks lovely and rich and dark.
      It was a recipe by Kuhlman in one of their charcuterie books.
      But when I inspected it today it had the mould growing on it as in the pics below. I have since scrubbed the mould off with white wine vinegar and returned it to the cellar. Is it wise to continue?
       
      Daniel
       
       
       


    • By shain
      Makes 40 cookies, 2 loaves. 
       
      50-60 g very aromatic olive oil
      80 g honey 
      120 to 150 g sugar (I use 120 because I like it only gently sweet) 
      2 eggs
      2 teaspoons of fine lemon zest, from apx 1 lemon 
      230 g flour 
      1 teaspoon salt 
      1 teaspoon baking powder 
      75 g lightly toasted peeled pistachios
      50 g lightly toasted almonds (you can replace some with pine nuts) 
      Optional: a little rosemary or anise seed
      Optional: more olive oil for brushing
       
      Heat oven to 170 deg C.
      In mixer (or by hand), mix oil, honey, sugar, lemon, egg and if desired, the optional spices - until uniform. 
      Separately mix together the flour, salt and baking powder. 
      Add flour mixture to mixer bowel with liquids and fold until uniform. Dough will be sticky and quite stiff. Don't knead or over mix. 
      Add nuts and fold until well dispersed. 
      On a parchment lined baking tray, create two even loaves of dough. 
      With moist hands, shape each to be rectangular and somewhat flat - apx 2cm heigh, 6cm wide and 25cm long. 
      Bake 25 to 30 minutes until golden and baked throughout, yet somewhat soft and sliceable. Rotate pan if needed for even baking. 
      Remove from tray and let chill slightly or completely. 
      Using a sharp serrated knife, gently slice to thin 1/2 cm thick cookies. Each loaf should yield 20 slices. 
      Lay slices on tray and bake for 10 minutes. Flip and bake for another 10-15 minutes until complelty dry and lightly golden. 
      Brush with extra olive oil, if desired. This will and more olive flavor. 
      Let chill completely before removing from tray. 
      Cookies keep well in a closed container and are best served with desert wines or herbal tea. 
       
        
    • By psantucc
      My own recipe, though influenced by many sources.
      Santucci's Practical Torrone (Christmas Nougat)
      180g honey (½ cup)
      100g egg whites (2 eggs)
      350g sugar (1 ½ cups)
      50g water (2 tablespoons)
      450g (1 pound) roasted nuts
      5-10 drops orange oil
      2 sheets (8 ½” x 11”) Ostia (aka wafer, edible paper)
      Combine honey, water, and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Skim foam (if any is seen) off the honey when it reaches the boil.
      In a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
      Cook the honey mixture to 280° F (137° C). Remove from the heat. With the mixer on high speed, slowly pour the mixture into the egg whites. Continue to whisk until volume has increased by about half and the mixture just starts to lose gloss – only about 5 minutes.
      Reduce the mixer speed and add the orange oil and nuts. When they are thoroughly mixed in, spread the resulting nougat over a sheet of Ostia. Try to cover the sheet as evenly as possible- the nougat is sticky and will make things difficult. When it is evenly covered, top with the other sheet of Ostia.
      Leave to cool and crystallize completely in the open air before cutting, preferably overnight.
      Note: I call this 'practical' Torrone because the recipe is made for home confectioners of reasonable skill to be able to easily understand what and how much to buy and what to do with it. The ingredient portions are biased for my country, the USA, but I saw no point in using English ounces for the weight-based version – those of us who prefer weight generally prefer it in grams.
      Tips and tricks:
      1.Keep nuts in a warm oven ( about 150° F / 65° C ) until you add them. Adding room temperature or colder nuts will reduce working time.
      2.Getting the nougat spread between sheets of Ostia is the trickiest part of the process. I use buttered caramel rulers on the outside edges of the bottom sheet, pour and press nougat in place, and then press the top layer on with an offset spatula. If you don't have caramel rulers, try spreading the nougat with an offset spatula, topping with the other sheet, and rolling with a pin to smooth. I advise against trying to cast the slab in any kind of fixed side pan, as the stickiness will make it very difficult to remove.
      3.Score the top layer of Ostia before cutting through. Once scored, a straight down cut with a Chef's knife works well. Cut into six 8 1/2” long bars and wrap in parchment or waxed paper to store, then cut into smaller rectangles to serve.
      4.There are many possible alternate flavorings. 1-10 Lemon oil or 1 t. (5 ml) vanilla or almond extract work well and are traditional flavors. Candied orange peel and/or orange zest can also be added.
      5.I use half pistachio and half almonds as the nuts. Hazelnuts (filberts) are also traditional. Any common nut should work.
      6.Ostia is available from confectionery suppliers. I get 8-1/2” x 11” sheets from www.sugarcraft.com under the name 'wafer paper'.
      This recipe is copyright 2009 by Patrick J. Santucci. Contact the author on eGullet under the username psantucc.
    • By Paul Bacino
      1 C Northern Beans soaked over-night in
      4-6C Water or Chxn Stock
      1/2 t Cayenne Pepper
      1//2 t Granulated garlic
      1 twig Dried oregano-- dried from last yr
      2 Bay
      pinch of salt ( yes ) and few pepper corns
      in the Morning; All into the Slow Cooker for 5 hrs. ( Crock Pot )
      I removed half the liquor and added chicken stock here back in . to this I added diced cooked Italian sausage about 1 whole .. simmer in a pot.. I transferred to... then add 1/2 head of shopped chicory ( curly endive ) finish cooking 15 mins
      cheers
      Most measurements again are from feel
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...