Preserved Lemons

Preserved Lemons

Preserved lemons can transform a dish into something exquisite in flavor and texture. They add an intense, concentrated lemon flavor to the dish without the sour tartness. Many Moroccan and Middle Eastern dishes call for preserved lemons. Restaurants are now adding many of these recipes to their menu rotations, as well.

  • Use in lamb and vegetable tagines (spiced dishes made in a traditional “tagine” clay pot).
  • Preserved lemon is perfect for fish dishes.
  • Add them to your hummus or other dips.

 

PREP 30 MIN
SERVES 8
FEATURING

Ingredients

9 organic lemons
Kosher salt
1 heaping teaspoon black peppercorns
2 bay leaves

Preparation

Scrub 3 to 5 organic lemons, enough to fit snugly in a medium jar with a tight-fitting lid (have 2 to 4 more ready on the side). Slice each lemon from the top to within 1/2 inch of the bottom, almost cutting them into quarters but leaving them attached at one end. Rub kosher salt over the cut surfaces, then reshape the fruit. Cover the bottom of the jar with more kosher salt. Fit all the cut lemons in, breaking them apart if necessary. Sprinkle salt on each layer.

Press the lemons down to release their juices. Add to the jar the peppercorns and bay leaves, then squeeze the additional lemons into the jar until juice covers everything. Close the jar and let ripen at cool room temperature, shaking the jar every day for 3 to 4 weeks, or until the rinds are tender to the bite. Store it in the refrigerator.

To use, remove a piece of lemon and rinse it. (Add more fresh lemons to the brine as you use them up.) The minced rind is added at the very end of cooking or used raw; the pulp can be added to a simmering pot.

 

Photo: www.npr.com