Vail Daily column: Lime: Bright flavor for winter days
Vail, CO Colorado
January. The dead of winter and 31 days long. A hint of citrus can brighten the bleakest of days. Limes are a favorite citrus fruit with their floral aroma and tangy acidity. Sweeter than lemons, limes find their way into many savory dishes of Asian, Indian and Latin origins; a quick squeeze of fresh lime will brighten a stir fry, enhance a salsa or zest a butter to toss with veggies.
Limes are indispensible to mixologists. Forget about margarita and mojito mixes and use fresh squeezed lime juice instead. Brighten your standard gin and tonic. Planning a visit to Mexico? A lime wedge will garnish your beer or Cuba Libre. Prefer a mocktail? Try a limeade or add lime juice to plain sparkling water. With its pretty green color, a lime wedge or twist can be a sophisticated garnish to the simplest beverage.
“Lime is a perfect complement to seafood of all types,” said Jeremy Kittelson, executive chef at Restaurant Avondale. “One of my favorite preparations is to marinate bay scallops in lime juice overnight. The enzymes in lime will ‘cook’ the raw fish to make ceviche. Then just add an assortment of chiles and tomatoes and serve with tortilla chips.”
Lime in dessert cleanses the palate and balances the sweetness of sugar. Key lime pie is a southern classic. Substitute lime in your favorite lemon bar recipe for a delicious variation. Lime sorbet is a light finish or a delightful mid-course.
Are you one of many Americans with a New Year resolution to lose weight? Stock up on limes for their Vitamin C, fiber and calcium. Low in fat, sodium and cholesterol they make a delicious and satisfying seasoning in dressings and sauces. Lime can stand in for lemon in savory dishes, too. Try this easy way to get creative and break your routine – February will be here in no time.
1 small lobster, cooked, tail meat flaked to yield 1 cup, leave claws whole
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1/3 cup mayonnaise, or to moisten
1/4 teaspoon salt
mixed salad greens
1 Tablespoon ginger, shredded
1 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup honey
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Make the vinaigrette: Combine the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Sprinkle flaked lobster meat with lemon juice. Add celery, salt and pepper. Gently stir in mayonnaise; chill thoroughly. In another bowl, toss salad greens with lime-ginger vinaigrette and distribute on two plates. Arrange lobster salad on dressed greens and top each salad with a whole claw. Garnish with lemon wedges. Serves 2.
Crab and jicama filled cucumbers
1 small jicama, shredded
1/4 pound lump crabmeat
1 1/2 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 Tablespoons chopped scallions
1/4 teaspoon minced jalapeno
1 roma tomato, seeded and chopped
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
3 English cucumbers, sliced into half inch rounds
1 ripe avocado
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
Make avocado mash by combining the three ingredients and mashing with a fork until smooth. Spread a bit on each of the cucumber rounds, leaving a rim of white around the mash. Mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mound a small scoop of crab mixture on top of the avocado mash. Place on decorative tray and serve.
Makes about 36 appetizers.
Lime jalapeno dipping sauce
1 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 scallions, chopped
Combine vinegar and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Lower heat to medium and allow to reduce to syrup consistency. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Chill. Makes three cups. Use as a dipping sauce for spring rolls, wontons or satays.
Sue Barham is the marketing director for Larkspur Restaurant and Restaurant Avondale. Larkspur, (larkspurvail.com) at the base of Vail Mountain, has been serving American Classics with a fresh interpretation since 1999. Avondale, (avondalerestaurant.com) opened in September 2008 in the Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa and features a West Coast inspired, market driven menu.