When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Potatoes

Reader Contribution by Chuck Mallory
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I am forever trying to make dishes that combine one fruit and one vegetable. Ideally these dishes would serve as dinner side dishes and not be sweet. It’s not an easy task other than the usual path, such as sweet potatoes with whatever fruit (which is too sweet), or a salad tossed with mandarin oranges. Of course, I did present Fried Apples ‘n’ Onions and that was a big challenge. I can’t tell you how many bananas I’ve wasted on these fruit/vegetable marriage attempts only to arrive at one obvious conclusion: anything made with bananas tastes only like bananas!

Other conclusions I’ve drawn:

God really meant citrus fruit to be eaten raw, no exceptions.

Unripe fruit still tastes like unripe fruit when you cook it.

Vegetables have been taunting me with fruity names like “cherry tomatoes,” “grape tomatoes” and “banana peppers.”

So let’s try a more compatible pair. Potatoes are the way to start a perfect palette because they don’t have a sharp flavor, and citrus fruit, especially lemon, is so often paired with other foods that our palates are used to them in other dishes. There are a variety of ways to combine these two. But all the recipes I’ve seen have soft/bland potatoes and the lemon almost can’t be found. Here’s the solution:


6 med. Potatoes, preferably Yukon Golds
2 lemons, preferably Meyer lemons, sliced ½ inch thin
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon oregano
Coarse salt and pepper to taste

Cut potatoes into ¾-inch rounds, then cut rounds in half. Add to boiling, salted water and simmer approximately 10 minutes. Potatoes should be somewhat cooked but not soft. Drain pot and shake excess water from potatoes. Set aside.

In a heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Add one layer of potatoes, cook until golden, then turn over and cook other side till golden. Set cooked potatoes on paper towels on a plate. Add 2 more tablespoons oil and repeat, then repeat a third time until all potatoes are cooked. With the same pan, add sliced lemons and slightly brown, approximately 2 minutes on each side. Place potatoes in a serving dish, top with cooked lemons. Drizzle 1 tablespoon lemon juice over all, add oregano, and add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 2-4.

If I have any luck with “cherry tomatoes with cherries,” “plummed beets,” or “banana-peppered bananas,” you’ll be the first to know.

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