The Black Pearls of the East
The trend of black food is booming, from black burger buns to black ice-cream – we can add black coloring to almost every food. But there is one specific ingredient which has enhancements of taste from its blackness.
Black lemons are a popular ingredient in Persian cooking as well as some Arabic regions, especially Kuwait and Iraq.
Black lemons, also known as loumi, loomi aswad, leimoon aswad or oman lemon, are actually dried limes.
To achieve this result, place the limes on a banana leaf mat and place in the sun until dry and they have turned a color that varies from ocher to black.
Sometimes the limes can be boiled in salt water before being dried.
What do black lemons taste like?
Black lemon is very fragrant, somewhat bitter, earthy, smoky and has a slightly fermented taste. They are used to bring acidity to a dish.
How to cook with black lemon?
Black lemons are widely used in Persian cuisine. They can be used whole, sliced or powdered.
Black lemons are generally used to flavor meat, fish, vegetables, stews or even soups. It is also possible to use them to add flavor to a dessert, such as ice cream or cake.
Where to buy black lemons?
You can easily find black lemon in the Persian or specialist grocery stores.
Chefs cook black lemons
Chefs are increasingly enjoying this famous black lemon and its particular taste. So much so that some chefs have even decided to make their own loumi, like chef Stéphane Jégo from L’Ami Jean in Paris. In an article in Le Figaro, we learn that the chef likes, for example, to prepare a “loin of pig from Ospital larded with lemon or, more sophisticated, a pork loin cut in half, spread with basil and lemon, rolled in casing, roast for several hours then rested before being briefly put over the heat to caramelise.”
Stéphane Jégo has also left carte blanche to Emmanuel Ryon, MOF glacier and world champion of pastry, to create a sorbet with black lemon, buckwheat and drizzle of olive oil.
While, for his part, world famous pastry chef Pierre Herme has created an “infinitely lemon black” macaroon with a very tart lemon cream.
Copenhagen and London have restaurants who experiment with Black Lemon. Can you guess which restaurants they are?