Lemon Goop and Vinaigrette

Lemon Goop and Vinaigrette

The first time I made this lemon concoction, I called it “goop,” and still haven’t found a better name. My inspiration was an offbeat lemon jam I’d had in a Paris bistro. The jam, which I think was served with mackerel, was thick, velvety, salty, tangy, only a bit sweet and made with salt-cured preserved lemons. Haunted by the flavor and not patient enough to wait a month for lemons to cure, I cooked ordinary lemons, some with their peel, in a sugar-and-salt syrup, then blended them into a kind of marmalade, the goop. It’s excellent swiped over cooked fish, seafood, chicken or vegetables. The syrup, fragrant and full flavored, is terrific in marinades and great mixed with a little goop, sherry and cider vinegars, honey and oil to make a vinaigrette for beans, grains and hearty salads. I guess that goop is technically a condiment, but I call it a transformer. It’s that good.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 2 persons



  1. Step 1

    Make the goop and syrup: Remove the zest from 3 lemons, taking care not to include any white cottony pith. Coarsely chop the zest, and set aside.
  2. Step 2

    You use the segments from all 6 lemons, so cut away any rind and pith on each of the lemons, so that the fruit is exposed. Slice between the membranes to release each segment.
  3. Step 3

    Add the sugar, sea salt and 2 cups water to a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Drop in the segments and the chopped zest, bring back to a boil, then lower the heat so that the syrup simmers gently. Cook for about 1 hour, at which point the syrup will have thickened and the lemons will have pretty much fallen apart.
  4. Step 4

    Strain the syrup into a bowl. Transfer the fruit mixture to a mini food processor or a blender, or set in a measuring cup if using an immersion blender. Add 1 tablespoon of the syrup to the fruit mixture, and whir until you have a smooth, glistening purée. Add more syrup as needed to keep the fruit moving and to get a goop that’s thick enough to form a ribbon when dropped from a spoon.
  5. Step 5

    Pack the goop in a tightly sealed container, and use it straight from the jar to glaze cooked fish, seafood or vegetables. The syrup can be used in marinades, rubs or even cocktails.
  6. Step 6

    Make the vinaigrette: Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl or shake in a jar. The goop, syrup and vinaigrette will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.