Saturday, July 31, 2010

Preserved Lemons

Ever wanted to add a secret ingredient to your cooking that wows everyone?  Something that adds a savory flavor that they cannot quite figure out? Try making some preserved lemons...
Ever since I made my first batch, they have become one of the most interesting and important ingredients in my cooking.  They go great with veggie or meat dishes that have sauces and they pair with rice or pasta.  They're also great in sautéed greens.  Although the lemon flavor comes through, the spices are the secret savory punch that will really flavor your food. These beautiful lemons were foraged with permission from a gracious neighbor's yard.

Preserved lemons are very easy to put together.  Start with some Ball pint sized canning jars, figuring 7-8 lemons per jar.  Cut the stems from them.  Then cut one lemon into slices to garnish the sides of the jar.  Then cut 4 of the lemons by slicing them once from the top down leaving about a quarter inch of unsliced lemon, then flip over and cut in the opposite direction.  Using a tablespoon, fill each cut in each lemon with kosher or sea salt (do not use iodized salt).  Place into the jars.  Add one cinnamon stick, a bay leaf, 6-7 whole coriander pieces and 6-7 black pepper corns.  You can also add a clove.  Juice the remaining lemons and pour the juice into the jar.  The jar will probably only be half full of juice at this point.  Top with a tablespoon of salt and add lid.  The juice will taste very salty and will begin to smell lovely with a slight hint of cinnamon.  Allow the jars to stand unrefrigerated.  Periodically push the lemons down to try to squeeze as much lemon juice out as possible.  Flip the jars each day to ensure as much salty lemon juice coverage as possible.  After day three, add more lemon juice if needed or top with water and another tablespoon of salt.  If covered with juice, the lemons will keep a long time.  Wait 2 weeks to a month to start using your lemons.  Rinse the lemons before use.  

Try this preserved lemon recipe for your next gathering: 

Mediterranean Pasta Salad:  Mix the following and serve at room temp.

1 lb cooked pasta
¼ preserved lemon rinsed and diced (may add more if needed)
3 cups sautéed kale, red onion, zucchini or eggplant in a tbls of olive oil
1 cup chick peas
½ lb crumbled feta cheese
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped red onions 
Olive oil – a drizzle or more to taste
¼ cup Vinegar (red wine or balsamic)
Fresh herbs – combine any of these: Mint, Basil, Oregano, Green onions, Parsley
1 tlbs Juice from preserved lemons – this is what salts your dish.
Pine nuts – toast in a hot, dry pan first.

For even more flavor, you can also add chopped cucumber or olives.

No comments:

Post a Comment