Thursday, February 28, 2008

Kona Kampachi with Meyer Lemon-Thyme Butter

Meyer Lemons

When we were kids I used to drive my brothers nuts singing the "Lemon Tree" song over and over again.

Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.

Well not if it's a Meyer lemon. With their sweet-tart tang, they're bold enough to make you pucker slightly but sweet enough to eat a slice raw. That's because a Meyer lemon is a citrus hybrid -- a cross between a regular lemon and a sweet orange or a mandarin -- making it less acidic and much sweeter than regular lemons.

Meyer lemons are rotund and have a soft, thin rind that almost glows golden orange when fully ripe. Their flavor is quite complex with brush strokes of bright lemon, shades of tangy lime, and hints of sweet orange.

I buy my Meyer lemons at local farmers' markets, but fortunately most supermarkets carry them seasonally from December-April. Now's the time to buy them while they're at their peak.

Then cook them with some exceptionally flavorful Kona Kampachi,® a sushi-grade Hawaiian yellowtail that is sustainably raised off the coast of Hawaii. Since it has no detectable levels of mercury and has high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids -- which have been linked to a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease -- Kona Kampachi is also healthy for you.

If you can't get to Hawaii to eat some Kona Kampachi, then consider buying some online from Kona Blue. I received my thick, snowy white, incredibly fresh fish fillets courtesy of Hannah.

Though it can be eaten raw, I quickly pan seared the fillets, which because of their high fat content, rendered the fish crispy on the outside and moist and flaky on the inside. Everyone knows that fish and citrus are beautiful together, but eating this succulent Kona Kampachi with browned, buttery Meyer lemons elevated this weeknight dinner to something truly special.

That's why I'm sending my Kona Kampachi with yellow Meyer lemons to Zorra of the beautiful Kochtopf for her International Women's Day event. Celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women this year on March 8th by sending Zorra your yellow food submissions.

I still find myself singing the "Lemon Tree" song when I'm cooking with Meyer lemons, but since my brothers are in RI, now I drive only Jeff nuts.

Kona Kampachi with Meyer Lemon

Kona Kampachi with Meyer Lemon-Thyme Butter
Serves 2
Print recipe only here.

1 1/2 tablespoons butter
the flesh of 1/2 de-seeded Meyer lemon, minced until pulpy
1 teaspoon Meyer lemon zest
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
1 sprig of fresh thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

8 ounces Kona Kampachi fillets
2 teaspoons butter
2 teaspoons olive oil

1 Meyer lemon, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon butter or olive oil

Combine all ingredients for the citrus butter in a small bowl and mix with your fingertips, ensuring that the fruit and seasonings are incorporated into the butter. Set aside.

For the fish, melt butter with olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Rub fish fillets on both sides with half of the citrus butter and place in the hot skillet. Cook fillets for 3-4 minutes, then flip once and cook an additional 2-3 minutes, or until opaque and slightly browned. If you'd like the fish more rare, then reduce the cooking time by half.

Meanwhile, melt 1/2 teaspoon of butter in a medium sized skillet over medium heat. Add a whole sliced Meyer lemon, and cook for about 1-2 minutes, flip once, and cook an additional 1 minute, or until lightly browned.

Melt remaining half of the citrus butter in the microwave or on the stove top and drizzle on top of the cooked fish before serving. Garnish with additional fresh thyme, if desired.

P.S. This morning I saw Jaime's comment mentioning Elly's (of elly says opa!) Eat to the Beat event. Elly's looking for your music-related recipes (by March 2nd), and this one seems just right, especially since I can't get the darned lyrics out of my head.

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