Friday, February 7, 2014
Since the Seasoned Salt seemed to turn out so well, I decided to try my hand at a homemade version of another spice pantry staple: lemon pepper. Now I know there are countless recipes for lemon pepper out there, but in my opinion most of them miss the boat. Lemons taste sour (duh) and so must lemon pepper. Yet none of the recipes floating around the web contain any sour component.
The solution seemed pretty obvious to me—why not include a bit of citric acid along with the pepper and lemon zest? I mean, it occurs naturally in lemons and limes, and it’s cheap, readily available, and something I have in my pantry anyway for making candy. So I did some research—that is to say I read the back of a jar. And you know that brand of lemon pepper with the big L on the label and the bright yellow cap? Citric acid is listed right there in the ingredient list. Obvious indeed! Citric acid not only provides the necessary tartness, but it comes as a powder, which just happens to be the perfect form for using in a spice mix.
So after a fair amount of tinkering, I came up with my own from-scratch recipe for Lemon Pepper. According to my completely impartial taste tester husband, it’s way better than the bottled kind, which he described as having a “chemically” taste. Let me know if you agree.
Grated zest of 3 large lemons
3 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons citric acid
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon sugar
Spread the lemon zest on a parchment-lined cooling rack on a baking tray and let dry at room temperature for about 24 hours.
Combine the dried lemon zest, pepper, salt, citric acid, granulated garlic, onion powder, and sugar in a spice jar. Cover and shake until well blended.
Makes a generous 1/3 cup. Use a microplane for grating the lemon zest. Each large lemon will yield approximately 1 tablespoon of dried grated zest. This blend keeps for several months tightly sealed in the pantry.