Lemon Marmalata

In my hunt for interesting cookbooks at used book stores, I recently picked up The Young Man and the Sea : Recipes and Crispy Fish Tales from Esca, by David Pasternack and Ed Levine.  This book covers a pretty wide range of seafood and cooking techniques, from preparing soups to grilling, roasting, pan-frying, poaching, and baking everything from ordinary cod to cuttlefish and everything in-between.  There are also interesting vegetable pairings, and a section on Italian-style sushi (crudo).  What really grabbed my attention, however, was this uniquely-stated recommendation from Anthony Bourdain on the back cover: “If I were strapped in the electric chair and facing a last meal of sea creature, I would pray that Dave would be cooking it.”  I hope that Mr. Bourdain meant that Dave really knows how to serve up delicious seafood, and not that Dave’s cooking might assist the efforts of the executioner.

The first thing I tried was something simple – fried cod with lemon jam (or marmalata, as it would be referred to in Italy).  The lemon jam is extremely easy to prepare, and adds just the right amount of fresh zing to the fried fish.  I think it would be great served with most seafood as an alternative condiment to the usual tartar sauce.

The fish, unfortunately, did not make it to the photo session.  Sorry!  The cod was simply dipped in buttermilk, rolled in seasoned white rice flour, and fried for around 4 minutes per side in oil and butter, until golden brown.

The marmalata was made using Meyer lemons, which are naturally sweeter than conventional, true lemons. If you don’t have Meyer lemons available, you may want to add a bit of honey, to taste.  I used one lemon for approximately 1.5 pounds of fish.


  • One lemon, preferably Meyer, washed
  • 1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • honey, to taste (optional)

Remove the stem end of the lemon and cut it into chunks.  Remove seeds.  Place the lemon chunks, peel and all, in a small food processor or blender.  Combine with olive oil and red pepper flakes.  Pulse until the texture is similar to relish.  Adjust flavor with honey, if needed to reduce acidity.  Serve with seafood.

Been really blown away with the new Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Race Riot Suite. To my ears it’s the album of the year, 2011. A work concerned with the Tulsa race riot of 1921, this is a moving and rambunctious record, with swagger and imagination in equal measure. Fans of Charlie Mingus to Primus will found common ground here. This is jazz with a pulse!


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