Lemons sometimes make my dishes bitter - help!

I've cooked two different dishes recently that have had lemon slices in the sauce. In one, I cooked lemon slices in hot olive oil to infuse it and then mixed it with gnocci and a few other things. The other was this incredible spatchcooked chicken: http://food52.com/recipes....

I've made both dishes and had them come out incredibly - really delicious and lemony. But I've also made both and have had a really bitter taste that kind of tastes like the peel/pith/seeds of the lemon. I can't figure out why this sometimes happens - I've taken out the seeds each time. I know I can add juice and zest instead, but it really takes away from the great browned/caramelized lemon slices that, when the dish works, are so good. Maybe the individual lemons are the problem, but I don't know how to tell when a lemon will be bad. Any thoughts?

  • Posted by: LucyS
  • January 31, 2014


Voted the Best Reply!

Selma |. February 1, 2014
Hi Lucy - The pith is what carries that bitter flavour. I think that thinner skinned lemons have less pith and therefore would be less bitter when cooked in slices. I find that the gnarly skinned lemons are great for zest but have a lot of pith but the sleek smooth lemons tend to be thinner skinned and with much less pith. I live in London and we don't have Meyer lemons but from what I have (enviously) read about them, sound as if they would work.
Diana B. February 1, 2014
It might be worth trying Meyer lemons to see if they would be less strident in the dishes you've tried, since they're sweeter.
LeBec F. January 31, 2014
Lucy, i had that bitter lemon experience once so i never put lemon slices into dishes any more. But SOMEone will have an answer for you. the only thing i am wondering is about washing the lemon really well.. ...?
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