Holiday Kitchen Gifts: Marinated Lemons

Christmas is nearly upon us and 'tis the season for gifts from the heart … and the kitchen. This week, I'll be sharing a few of my favorite kitchen goodies that lend themselves well to giving as gifts or sharing in your home with guests. This time around, a tangy lemon sauce that's perfect for dipping your favorite bread into, drizzling into hot rice, serving atop baked fish, and much more is on the table.

You'll note there aren't really amounts for this recipe. That's because, depending on your jar and your tastes, you'll be using different amounts of many of the ingredients. I used garlic chives for this recipe because I have them growing outside my kitchen window and I've even been able to snag some out of the snow for use. Green onions or regular chives both also work. If you have made this one before and have other seasoning/spice blends you would like to try, give it a whirl. However, I highly recommend using those suggested here first to get a good idea of what you are aiming for.

This sauce is beautiful in jars and, like the other goodies featured here this week, makes wonderful gifts and offerings at an impromptu holiday gathering. This sauce drizzled into deep plates or shallow bowls alongside warm baguette and a wedge of nice cheese can be a perfect accompaniment to a nice glass or two of wine with dear friends. In fact, let me go warm some bread right now!

Marinated Lemons

  • 1 bunch garlic chives, regular chives, or green onions
  • 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt
  • Granulated sugar
  • Fresh black pepper
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Dried oregano
  • White wine vinegar
  • Olive oil

Using a sharp knife, slice the chives thinly.

Slice the lemon in half lengthwise. Slice these halves into half-moons as thinly as possible, discarding any slices without juice.

Transfer the chives and lemon to a jar. Sprinkle them generously with a couple good pinches of salt and granulated sugar, five or six grindings of fresh black pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and about a tablespoon of dried oregano. Cover the jar and shake vigorously to coat.

Press the chives and lemons down in your jar to compress them and pour some white wine vinegar over them to almost the top.

Pour the olive oil on top to about equal the amount of chive/lemon/vinegar mixture (do this by eye, you'll adjust flavors later). Give it a good stir or shake, cover, and store at room temp for a minimum of 6 hours to overnight.

The chives and lemons should turn a bit translucent. Give the dressing a good stir or shake and taste, adjust the seasoning to your preference for salt, sweet, pepper, or oregano. If you think it tastes too oily, add more vinegar. Too sharp? Add more oil.

Store in the refrigerator for up to a month.

  • Yields: About 1 cup
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes plus resting timer