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All About

Lemons

Lemons are one of a cook's most valuable ingredients, working in both sweet and savory dishes. Choose lemons with taut, thin skin; the fruit should give slightly when pressed. Stock up -- lemons keep for two to three weeks in a plastic bag in the fridge --and you'll find yourself grabbing them for everything from cake to hummus to chicken.

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recipe

Fennel, lemon, herbs, and white wine create a flavorful broth, often referred to as court-bouillon, for poaching halibut. To maintain a clear cooking liquid, the aromatics are bundled between a halved leek. A slotted spatula or two eases the transfer of the finished fillets to a plate. A spoon-ful of broth can double as a finishing sauce.

recipe

This sunny cake is coauthor Victoria Pearson's go-to dessert. "I always have a surplus of citrus," she says, "and it's super-easy." The inspiration was an old French recipe that used oranges--but she swapped those out for lemons. "The sugar syrup you make with them soaks into the cake, so it's very moist and very aromatic," she says. It's delicious plain--but you can also top it off with a sprinkling of candied lemon slices for a bright finish to any dinner gathering. Recipe reprinted from Citrus: Sweet and Savory Sun-Kissed Recipes copyright © 2015 by Valerie Aikman-Smith. Photos © 2015 by Victoria Pearson. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.