Roasted Lemon Salsa


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes about

    1½ cups

Appears in

Cooking One on One

Cooking One on One

By John Ash

Published 2004

  • About

This is an unusual approach that produces a great condiment. Roasting a lemon softens its acidity and adds a toasty note. It’s a great topper for broiled or grilled chicken and fish. I also like to stir a little into soups and risottos at the last minute to add brightness. For variation, you can add some finely diced green or black olives or chopped herbs, such as parsley or chives. It’s simple to put together, but the lemons need to be roasted and cooled first, and the mixture should sit for several hours before serving, so make this one ahead of time.


  • 2 large lemons (about ½ pound), scrubbed (see Note)
  • cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup finely chopped shallots or green onion (white part only)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, or to taste


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the lemons in half and pick out the seeds. Lightly coat the lemons with a tablespoon of the olive oil. Place the lemons cut side down in a baking dish and roast uncovered for 25 minutes. Remove, cool, and cut the lemons into ¼-inch dice.

In a bowl, combine the lemons, the remaining olive oil, shallots, sugar, and salt and stir gently. Cover and set aside for at least 3 hours so the flavors can marry and mellow. Initially, the lemons may seem a little harsh or bitter but as they sit the flavor changes markedly. Taste it a couple of times throughout the rest period and you’ll see. Adjust the seasonings with additional salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.