- 4-6 organic lemons
- 1/2-3/4 cup sugar, to taste
- Pinch of salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- Wash your lemons really well, and zest two of them. Mix the zest with the sugar in a small bowl, rubbing the mixture between your fingers to bring out the flavors of the zest (use ½ cup of sugar for a very puckery curd, and more if you want things a little sweeter). Set the lemon sugar aside (if you want to make extra lemon sugar, it's also delicious as a topping for muffins or cookies).
- Roll the lemons firmly under the palm of your hand to prime them to release the most juice. Juice lemons until you have ¾ cup of lemon juice. Strain out any seeds. Add the juice, lemon sugar, and salt to a saucepan. Warm over medium heat, stirring constantly, until all the sugar is dissolved.
- Beat the eggs and egg yolk together in a medium bowl. While whisking constantly, slowly pour the warm lemon mixture into the eggs. Continue to beat for a minute or so.
- Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla (the vanilla is optional--you won't really taste it, but it rounds out the flavor).
- Let the curd cool to room temperature, then transfer to a glass jar or another airtight container. Store in the refrigerator. Lemon curd will keep, refrigerated, for up to two weeks.
In my last post, I shared a recipe for gambas al ajillo inspired by my meal at Solea. The other thing I was dying to try at home was Solea’s chickpea spread, which they bring at the beginning of the meal with a basket of crusty bread. It’s really delicious! I could tell it had chickpeas in it (plus, it was adorably garnished with one whole chickpea), but I couldn’t tell what made it so much richer, and so different from, hummus.
Luckily, our waiter didn’t mind telling us the other key ingredient–porcini mushrooms! I had never cooked with them before, and they smelled really funky before they were reconstituted. But, it was worth it. I was rewarded with this hearty dip, which I think is just as good as what I had at Solea.
Ingredients (makes about 1 1/2 cups):
1 15 ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Juice of half a lemon, or to taste
Salt to taste
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, plus more for serving
1/4 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
Paprika for serving, optional
Place the porcini mushrooms in a small bowl, and pour in very hot water to cover. Let sit for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the soaking water, rinse, and pat dry.
Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat, and saute the mushrooms for about five minutes.
In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, lemon juice, salt, and mushrooms. Turn the processor on and add the half cup of olive oil in a steady stream (you can use less oil and more mushroom water if you’d like). If the spread seems too dry, add the mushroom soaking water a tablespoon at a time and process until smooth.
Taste for seasonings and adjust if needed. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika, if desired. Serve with crusty bread or vegetables for dipping.
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