Lemons – Tiny Cathedrals of Gold

Lemons, their pitted, nay, prehistoric, skins secreting golden oil,

Shielding sourness, evoking memories of a grandmother’s kitchen,

A grandfather’s garden.

Born in the East, fruitful India,

A kiss of cold, albeit fleeting, spawns the yellow

Immortalized  in stone, paint, and clay.

A fruit reverenced,

Blossoming from mountain and lake,

Urging cooks to slice, pierce, and squeeze,

Inspiring miracles among the pots and pans.

Lemon curd …

Lemon pie …

Lemon chicken …

Preserved lemons …

Limoncello …

Such richness!

Pasta with Lemon and Mint
Serves 4

2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Zest and juice of two large unsprayed lemons (or one Almalfi lemon)
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
½ t. fresh cracked black pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste
Pinch of nutmeg
Generous handful of fresh basil and Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 T. sniped chives
1 T. finely chopped fresh mint
A cup or more of finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Sea salt, to taste
1 lb. linguine or spaghetti pasta

Stir all the ingredients except the pasta together in a large serving bowl.

Cook the pasta until al dente. Add about 3/4 cup of the boiling cooking water to the lemon mixture before draining the pasta. Toss the hot pasta with the sauce until well coated. Let pasta sit for a few minutes to cool a bit and soak up some of the liquid. Taste for saltiness. Add more cheese if desired, and serve topped with fine shreds of mint leaves. (Good cold, too!)


Cutting the lemon
the knife
leaves a little cathedral:
alcoves unguessed by the eye
that open acidulous glass
to the light; topazes
riding the droplets,
aromatic facades.

~~ Pablo Neruda, ‘Ode to a Lemon’

En el limòn cortaron
los cuchillos
una pequeña
el ábside escondido
abriò a la luz los ácidos vitrales
y en gotas
resbalaron los topacios,
los altares,
la fresca arquitectura.

The earth resides in the food we eat … and therefore in us.

© 2011 C. Bertelsen

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