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Nothing says summer more than zingy wonderful lemon

Rachel Allen


Lemons are one of my desert island ingredients, says Rachel Allen, who has some tasty recipes - including a refreshing tipple - using the zingy fruit

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Lemon Chicken roasted with Fennel and Leeks.
Photo: Tony Gavin

Lemon Chicken roasted with Fennel and Leeks. Photo: Tony Gavin

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Lemon Chicken roasted with Fennel and Leeks. Photo: Tony Gavin

Endlessly valuable and versatile in the kitchen, the lemon is one of my top five desert island ingredients. Less sweet than an orange, yet not as tart as a lime, with a flavour that has more friends than all of its citrus cousins combined, lemon is a vital seasoning for so many dishes. Like salt and pepper, lemon has the ability to really enhance the flavour of the food it's squeezed on to. Just a few drops of the lemon's magic can give a simple piece of fish or fruit instant inspiration.

More than any other meat, chicken works wonderfully with lemon. The sweet mildness of chicken accommodates lemon's sharpness perfectly. Before roasting a chicken, place a few lemon segments inside, along with a few sprigs of thyme or rosemary - the lemon will give a lovely fresh, zingy note to the meat.

This lemon chicken roasted with fennel and leeks recipe, right, is perfect for a lazy bank holiday weekend. Supremely simple and quick to throw together, it's a deliciously light way to dine at this time of the year, al fresco or not.