Friday, July 13, 2007

Verbose Lime Confit

For a self-proclaimed foodie wannabe, I have a surprising intolerance for fruits. Maybe I was a carnivore in a past life. Or a baconvore, that's also possible. That would explain why I can smell the aromas of enlightenment and nirvana in bacon grease but scrunch up my face at most fruits: Christ may have died for our sins but it is surely bacon which will redeem us all when the Dies Irae and Illa descend upon us. I also have another more immediate excuse. I am allergic to quite a few fruits. See? Those candies of nature buggers are out to get me.

So why is a fruit philistine writing about lime confit? Because it's sweet and can be anything from a perfectly light counterpoint to some fruits or a thick sweet sauce you use to temper something tart (for the philistines, of course). Technically you're not supposed to concentrate the confit until it becomes sugar syrup but who doesn't like sugar syrup?

Zest two limes with your preferred tool and be sure to leave out your fingernail and skin shavings. They don't add to the citrus flavor contrary to the advice of most neighborhood cannibals. Dissolve about half a cup of sugar in a cup of water and bring it to a boil. Dump the lime zest in to the sugar water and steam your nose hairs breathing in the wonderful citrus aromas released. You can also poach your eyebrows with your face over the pot watching the liquid turn green but that's optional. Reduce to a simmer and cover partially with a lid. Meanwhile, follows your mom's advice and don't waste that lime juice! Juice your two limes and run it once through a strainer and save it for when you need some sourness in your life. Then wait.

And reduce, reduce, reduce. Normal lime confit: reduce liquid by half, strain out zest, chill and store. Sweet tooth thick sugar syrup with a bit of lime which can't really be called lime confit: reduce liquid by two thirds, strain out zest, chill and store.

The latter preparation is a treat to my palate all by itself, though you wouldn't want to ingest more than half a teaspoonful at a time. It's...what's the word...sweet. Either one can be tossed with fresh berries, maybe a little lime juice, maybe a little undissolved sugar, garnished with a mint leaf, and served with creme fraiche (or sour cream). It's simple, it's delicious, and it even looks good when presented in open stemware like a martini glass.

But if you want to really wow them and give them a transcendent experience, might I suggest adding a little bacon grease?

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