I like to eat locally and, for me, this Crab Linguine with Meyer Lemon Sauce is about as local as you can get.
Today, as I do most days, I went for a walk in the hills near my house. I did it for exercise, sure. But I also did it because I was hungry. It’s citrus season where I live. Which doesn’t really matter all that much if I were hungry for, say, an orange – oranges are easy to find in the grocery store all year long. They also hang ripe on the tree here pretty much year-round. No, not oranges. I can have an orange pretty much any time I like.
Not so with Meyer lemons. Meyer lemons are very seasonal. Where I live Meyer lemons seem to ripen all at once and then fall from the branches. Also, Meyer lemons aren’t easy to find in the grocery store, even when they’re in season. Their thin, soft skins make them difficult to transport.
Meyer Lemon Sauce
Meaning Meyer lemons are special ingredients and I try to use them in as many recipes as I can while they’re around.
I’ll tell you why. The next time you have one handy scratch the skin of a Meyer lemon and inhale its citrus aroma. I did and was inspired to make Dungeness crab linguine tossed with a special prosecco and Meyer lemon sauce. I say special because if you take another sniff of that Meyer lemon in your hand I think you’ll also notice fragrant floral notes and even some pine. Meyer lemons are perhaps the most complexly scented citrus fruit I know. Just the whiff of a Meyer lemon evokes sunny California in the wintertime.
We in California are blessed with what’s known as a Mediterranean climate. Which has a great many advantages besides mild temperatures and year-round sunshine. One of the greatest pleasures in my life is the simple act of pulling a ripe Meyer lemon off a tree branch hanging over the walkways of the streets where I live. Of course “pulling” isn’t quite the right word. The best way to harvest a thin-skinned Meyer lemon is to gently twist it off the branch. I’ve had practice, so I know.
I call this practice urban foraging. The Meyer lemon sauce in today’s crab linguine is the product of one of my foraging adventures right here in my own neighborhood.
Local Meyer lemons pair beautifully with West Coast Dungeness crab, both are in season right now, and they come together fragrantly in this simple to prepare special-occasion pasta. GREG