One weekend four summers ago, my then-boyfriend and I drove from Philly to a little town in the New York Berkshires, to spend some time with his mom and her boyfriend of 15+ years. They had a gorgeous, mid-century modern house, with a vibrantly green yard, that gently slopped down for several hundred yards, until it met a stream. Sunday afternoon, after a slightly tense, but mostly fun weekend, Susan served us one last meal before we hit the road. She pulled out some cold, poached salmon, a spinach salad with a special, broiled lemon dressing and a blueberry and mango fruit salad. It was all delicious, but the thing that really stuck with me was that spinach salad. I must have gushed over it, because a few days later, the recipe appeared in my mailbox.
It was printed in the New York Times Dining and Wine section sometime in 2002 or the first half of 2003 (there's no date on the clipping she sent me) and is adapted from Lemon Zest, a cookbook by Lori Longbotham. The recipe is after the jump...
photo by Marisa McClellan 2 lemons, cut into paper-thin sliced and seeded (I do it half-moon style because it gives it more stability during the cutting)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt (plus some for sprinkling)
8 cups of baby greens (arugula, mesclun, spinach) washed and spun dry
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper
Freshly squeezed lemon juice (to taste)
Combine lemons, sugar and salt in a medium bowl and let stand for 1 hour (it's okay if it's a little longer), stirring occasionally. When you are ready to cook the lemons, heat the broiler and turn them out (with all the juice) onto a rimmed baking pan that is lined with foil (you definitely want to use foil, otherwise the sugar caramelize onto your pan and clean-up is a mess). Broil the lemons about five inches from the heat, until they are lightly browned. You may need to turn the pan once or twice, to ensure that they are browning evenly. It takes between 4 and 8 minutes, depending on your broiler.
While the lemons cook, quickly clean your greens and put them in the serving bowl. Add the broiled lemons (and all their juice) while they are still warm to the greens, along with the olive oil, the rest of the lemon juice, black pepper and any additional salt. Toss and serve immediately.
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