Just a few minutes ago I was at the Safeway by my work picking up a few things for lunch and some spices that I need to restock when it dawned on me that I clearly have a favorite spice. Yes I am a self proclaimed spice girl (90s flashback!) and there are many spices I love and go through like a locust in a corn field….cumin, garlic and curry are all spices that I tend to run through pretty quickly. However, today I did something that signified my dedication to my one true spice love…I bought a bottle of lemon pepper to keep in the office.
The reason I love lemon pepper so much isnt because its necessarily the best tasting spice, but because its the most versatile. You can coat chicken or fish in it then grill or fry them, toss some veggies with olive oil and lemon pepper for instant deliciousness, stir in some with rice to give it some pep, add some to your chicken soup to give it a twist, the list goes on. Really lemon pepper can be added to just about anything to zest it up when youre in a pinch. One of my favorite things is to add a little lemon pepper to mayo before spreading it on a sandwhich. I’ve made many a meal where everything has a little bit of lemon pepper in it, yet its easily not overkill. I decided to keep some at work because often I bring raw veggies in to steam and like to top them with lemon pepper instead of salt. Or for those times when I get a cup of so-so chicken soup from the local deli.
Although you can easily (and cheaply) pick up some lemon pepper from the store, try making your own. It’s fresher and has a stronger flavor than store bought lemon pepper.
- 1. Remove the zest from the lemon carefully, using a zesting tool or a vegetable peeler. Remove only the yellow zest and none of the white pith.
- 2. Mince the zest and place it in a small bowl.
- 3. Place the peppercorns on a cutting board and crack them by pressing on them with the clean bottom of a heavy pot, or whirl very briefly in a spice grinder – you want them in large pieces.
- 4. Add the cracked pepper to the zest.
- 5. Don’t forget this key step: Use a wooden spoon or other sturdy tool to mash the cracked pepper and zest together. This helps release the citrus oils in the zest and combine them with the pepper.
- 6. Spread the zest and pepper on a small baking sheet or piece of foil and place in the oven. If it’s a gas oven, leave it in the oven overnight and the pilot light will dry the mixture out. If it’s an electric oven, set it to 200 degrees F or so.
- 7. Pulverize the mixture the next day in a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder. You can also mince it by hand with a knife.
So now that you have your freshly made lemon pepper, heres a few recipes to try it out on.
Greek Lemon Chicken Soup also known as avgolemono, this is one of my favorite soups of all time. Cures any sickness or hangover! Although the recipe doesnt specifically call for lemon pepper, I always add a few shakes for that extra lemony pep ;)