lemon and lime mintade – smitten kitchen

Last week was a Lot. I ventured into it buzzing with adorably ambitious New Year’s intentions to, like, get things done, and spent most of it glued to a screen, furious and frustrated. As I mentioned in this morning’s newsletter, I’ve often felt that January is a blur and this one is particularly so. Armed insurrections are not a subject I know how to discuss in any meaningful way in a recipe headnote. But if you’re feeling like you’re in a fog, do know that you’re not alone.

Because feeding times at my zoo must go on as scheduled or it gets particularly feral around here, I did make three new things last week, all from The Flavor Equation [Amazon, Bookshop], a fascinating new cookbook from Nik Sharma in which he uses his molecular biology background to apply what he knows about the science of taste to recipe development. He also has an excellent palate, demonstrated through years of blogging at A Brown Table. I made the book’s shaved brussels sprout salad with crispy shallots, the coconut chicken curry, and then, because it sounded so impossibly refreshing, this lemon and lime mintade. It was inspired by one Sharma had on a long intentional flight that, although 16 hours long, sounds positively dreamy right now, some 1600 weeks into this pandemic.

steeping peels and mintready to juicehalf lemon, half lime juice

The approach here is very simple: Zest two lemons and limes. Sharma doesn’t like the microplane zester, preferring a cocktail zester; Deb has a cocktail zester but finds it annoying, is fine with the microplane zester, but really loves this type of serrated peeler (it excels at removing thin skins, like those of peaches and tomatoes, hardly a bad investment). In short: you have options. Then, make a simple syrup with sugar and water, add the zest and a good fistful of mint leaves and let it all chill together. Juice the lemons and limes and the juice to the cooled syrup, strain it, and pour it halfway up a glass filled with ice, filling the rest with seltzer. Take a big sip that’s hopefully refreshing, clarifying, energizing, and several other -ings that my swamp brain could use a jolt of right now. I hope you find it equally magical.

lemon and lime mintade


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Lemon and Lime Mintade

  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (235 ml) water
  • 2 large limes
  • 2 medium-large lemons
  • 1 bunch (about 2 ounces or 55 grams) fresh mint leaves and stems
  • 3 cups (720 ml) chilled club soda or seltzer
In a medium saucepan, bring sugar and water to a simmer, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add zest (just the yellow and green part of the skin, not the white underneath) of both lemons and limes and all but a few leaves of the mint (save them for garnish). Cover with a lid and let chill completely, about 1 hour in the fridge.

Meanwhile, juice your lemons and limes. You want 1 cup total, half lemon and half lime juice. Once mint-zest syrup has chilled, strain out the solids and add the lemon and lime juice to the syrup. You can chill this juice-syrup mixture until needed, or up to one week in the fridge.

To serve: Fill a medium-sized glass with ice. Fill halfway with juice-syrup mixture, and the rest of the way with seltzer. Garnish with reserved mint leaves. Drink immediately.

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