Sat, Nov 11, 2017 - Page 13 News List

Ian’s Table: It’s yellow

Meyer lemons are now locally grown, providing chefs with a huge new range for culinary exploration

By Ian Bartholomew  /  Contributing reporter

In a mood for compromises, the local yellow lemons make a fine tarte citron, something that would not really work with the green variety (not that local patisseries have not tried). Khaki specks of zest in a custard just looks ugly and will be unattractive however organic the lemons might be. The sweet yellow-skinned lemon is also ideal with simple grilled fish, as its skin releases a fresh aroma quite different from the acrid bitterness of the green variety under direct heat.

Grilled fish with lemon


(Serves 2)

Most fish can be served with lemon, so this is not much of a recipe, and its only merit may be to draw attention to the use of sharpfin barracuda (尖鰭金梭魚), a locally caught fish with excellent flavor.

Green-skinned lemons release an unappealing bitter taste when burnt, but sweet yellow-skinned lemons have a splendid bergamot flavor that really enriches the dish.

With any fish cooking, it is crucial to cultivate a good fishmonger who will tell you the truth about what he, or she, is selling, and pay the premium that a fresh product will inevitably demand. As with most fish, freezing will kill off half the flavor and I will always opt for a trusted fishmonger at a traditional market than any supermarket. Barracuda is currently at its best and caught fresh and put under the grill for just a few minutes, makes for a remarkable dish. Grilling fish is the easiest thing in the world, but over-cooking fish is easier still.


2 medium sized sharpfin barracuda (or any mackerel-like fish), cut open in two fillets or butterflied (you can ask your fishmonger to do this for you)

garlic, minced

olive oil

salt and pepper

1 Meyer lemon, thinly sliced

steamed baby potatoes

zucchini or summer squash, fried briefly in olive oil


1. Preheat the grill to 230c.

2. Season the fish with salt and pepper, rub lightly with minced garlic and olive oil. Set aside for 15 minutes.

3. Place thin slices of Meyer lemon over the fish. Place on a top shelf closest to the grill and cook for 5 minutes. Check for doneness.

4. Serve with steamed baby potatoes smothered in butter and zucchini or summer squash.

Ian Bartholomew runs Ian’s Table, a small guesthouse in Hualien. He has lived in Taiwan for many years writing about the food scene and has decided that until you look at farming, you know nothing about the food you eat. He can be contacted at

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