Lemon pepper is one of those spices/condiments that most people love, buy a bottle of, then let it sit on the shelf until it solidifies and can’t be pried apart with a machete, which leads to it being thrown out. I’m guilty of this. But I think that wouldn’t happen if lemon pepper actually tasted like lemon + pepper. Commercially-produced lemon pepper tastes less like lemon and more like salt.
We were given a lot of Meyer lemons.
And this was after I had made lemon sauce, lemon curd, lemon pie, lemon salad dressing, lemon gin-and-tonics, and given away bags of lemons. Clearly it was time to take action.
So: take lemons and grate the zest from them. A microplane is ideal for this but a box grater works fine too.
Below: a zested lemon.
When you have grated the zest from the lemons, put the zest in a narrow bowl and grind in black pepper. Adjust the pepper grinder so you get fairly large pieces instead of finely ground pepper. How much to add? That’s up to you, whether you want a more lemony spice or a more peppery spice. I like more lemon, so for about 1/2 cup zest I added about 2 teaspoons ground pepper.
Then take something like a wooden spoon, and with the handle, mash the pepper into the lemon zest so it becomes infused.
Spread the lemon-pepper out on a sheet of waxed paper or foil, and let it sit out on the kitchen counter uncovered and undisturbed until the lemon zest is dry – one or two days.
When the zest is dry, store the lemon pepper in a small bottle. You will find it has an actual lemon/citrus taste very unlike the commercially produced brands. Use on absolutely anything, but it’s especially good on creamy soups, roast chicken, salads, Bloody Marys, steamed vegetables like broccoli and asparagus, fettucini alfredo, baked potatoes, mixed into garlic butter, on scrambled eggs, and probably on chocolate bunnies and Peeps chicks.
Now you have a lot of zested lemons left over, which will dry out rapidly unless dealt with severely. Juice them – my life has improved immeasurably since I discovered this lemon juicer – and pour the juice into ice cube trays.
Once you have lemon ice cubes, store them in a freezer bag. Slip a couple into cocktails, or use when you just need a little lemon juice but don’t want to cut open a whole lemon.