Tudor Recipe: A Sallett of Lemons

When I first tasted this recipe, from The Good Huswife's Jewell, I was unsure whether it would have been a sweet or savoury dish. The lemons are sliced and eaten raw, but strewn with sugar they're not as acidic as you'd expect. Nowadays we could eat a piece of sweetened lemon as a palette cleanser or perhaps have on the side with a fish dish and this might have been the point of this recipe. I imagine that this dish wasn't eaten as we would eat a 'salad' today, but just some available lemon slices on the table to balance out a fish, chicken or meat dish. 

The recipe, dating from 1587, includes this instruction: 

Cut out slices of the peel of the lemons longways, a quarter of an inch one piece from another, and then slice the lemon very thin, and lay in a dish across, and the peels about the lemons, and scrape a good deal of sugar upon them, and so serve them. 

This is easy and cheap to make, and it would be worth adding it to your Tudor banquet to see what you make of it. Adjust the sugar to suit your own taste and make sure you use unwaxed lemons.

A Sallett of Lemons
Adapted from The Good Housewife's Jewell (1587)

2 lemons, unwaxed and organic
half teaspoon caster sugar

Wash the lemons and run a knife down the length of each one, cutting out long strips with about a centimetre of peel inbetween them.

Slice the lemons very thinly and arrange on a plate overlapping each other, scattering the peel you cut out amongst them and over the top.

Sprinkle over the sugar and serve.

Like this? Check out my other historic recipes to see if there's anything else you'd like to have a go trying! 

Never want to miss a post? Subscribe to my newsletter here: