Now that spring has sprung, you’ll find citrus – especially Meyer lemons – all over menus. Here are three recipes from Valencia Group hotel restaurants that’ll show you how to use lemon’s bright flavor in unexpected ways.

Who said you need to sacrifice flavor when cooking with spring-inspired ingredients? These three savory lemon-infused recipes will give you the bright citrus notes you crave, in addition to standout flavors inspired by popular dishes from Valencia Group’s acclaimed restaurants across the map: the forthcoming Dorregos Restaurant at Hotel Valencia Riverwalk in San Antonio and Canteen at Cavalry Court in College Station, Texas, plus the new Oveja Negra tapas restaurant at Hotel Valencia Santana Row in San Jose, California.

Meyer Lemon Chimichurri

Hotel Valencia Riverwalk’s new Dorregos Restaurant, set to debut spring/summer 2017, will feature a variety of authentic Argentinian fare inspired by a key part San Antonio’s diverse culture. Chimichurri is a staple on South American tables, and this simple and herby lemon chimichurri recipe adds a mild, citrusy kick that’s perfect for barbecued steak kabobs, grilled chicken, shrimp…and even French fries.

  • 3 Meyer lemons
  • 3 tablespoons garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup parsley, rough chopped
  • 3 sprigs rosemary, whole
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup parsley, rough chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 2 tablespoon sea salt
  • Food processor (or blender)
  1. Zest lemons into food processor.
  2. Juice lemons into food processor.
  3. Place all other ingredients into food processor, and combine thoroughly (roughly one minute).
  4. Allow to sit for four hours.
  5. After four hours, mix again, and use as desired.

Hand-Rolled “Croquette” Potato Fries

The military barracks-style motif of Cavalry Canteen that informs everything from the olive-green color palette to the name of the signature restaurant, Canteen, does not mean you should expect mess hall-caliber food at this new College Station hotel. No, no – the approach is much more elevated, without sacrificing the idea of comfort food. Served as part of the “Fish & Sticks” dish at Cavalry Court’s Canteen – an entrée that includes IPA-battered Pacific cod, a caper-herb remoulade, and a grilled lemon – these crunchy croquette-inspired fries are infused with lemon zest and basil for a flavor that pairs great with seafood.

  • 4 Idaho potatoes, lightly oiled and salted
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons basil, chopped fine
  • lemon half, grilled (for garnish)
  • Food mill or ricer
  • Stand mixer with paddle attachment
  • Fryer or saucepan filled with oil heated to 350 degrees
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place potatoes on a sheet pan and bake until cooked through (about 45 minutes).
  3. In medium sauce pot, bring water, salt, and butter to a boil.
  4. Add flour, and with wooden spoon, incorporate until a dough is formed and ingredients don’t stick to the sides of the pot.
  5. Peel potatoes while hot and run potatoes through food mill or ricer.
  6. Combine potatoes and dough in stand mixer using paddle attachment; mix together on medium speed.
  7. Incorporate egg, zest, and basil.
  8. Remove from bowl and divide into one-ounce balls.
  9. On a flat dry surface; roll balls into “fries.”
  10. Drop croquettes into fryer until golden brown.
  11. Drain excess oil using clean, dry towel and serve.

Baked Shells with Veal and Fava Bean Pesto

Hot off the spring menu at Hotel Valencia Santana Row’s new tapas restaurant, Oveja Negra, this baked pasta dish’s lemon-pesto sauce comes together in the pan as ground veal, ricotta, morels, and English peas combine for a flavorful twist on a traditional recipe.

  • 2 pounds ground veal
  • 1 pound spring onions, diced
  • 1 pound zebra tomatoes, diced
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 pound English peas, cleaned
  • 1 preserved lemon, julienned
  • 2 pounds fava beans, peeled and blanched
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 2 pounds morel mushrooms, sliced
  • 10 large pasta shells
  • 1 cup sherry
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • extra virgin olive oil, to taste
  • pine nuts, to taste
  1. Start a heavy-bottomed pan on medium-low heat, add ground veal.
  2. As veal cooks, break it up so there are no large chunks.
  3. Using a large slotted spoon, deglaze pan with sherry once the meat has lightly browned.
  4. Add garlic and all vegetables; cook until soft.
  5. Place onto sheet pan, and let cool.
  6. Once meat and vegetables are completely cooled, combine with ricotta cheese and eggs using a food processor. Fully incorporate.
  7. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  8. Stuff filling into shells, and place shells into an oiled casserole dish.
  9. Drizzle stuffed shells with extra virgin olive oil, pour chicken stock over shells, and top with fava beans, preserved lemon, and pine nuts.
  10. Cover with foil, and bake for 35 minutes.
  11. Let rest for 10 minutes and plate. To finish, top shells with scrapings from bottom of casserole dish.