Preserved Lemons are a luxurious item to have in the fridge. They are used in Indian and North African cuisine; no tagine would be complete without them. But, they can be used in all sorts of savory concoctions from vinaigrettes, to stews, to soups and salads. I’ve always purchased them in the past, but no more! Today, I made some. I used the recipe from Simply Recipes, “How to Make Preserved Lemons”. And, if you haven’t visited the website, you need to. You’ll find great recipes there for all sorts of interesting and delicious dishes. The recipes work and they work well. So go spend some time with Elise. No, Elise and I are not BFF’s…The Goddess doesn’t do BFF’s, and Elise has better things to do with her time than spend it with me! She’s busy cooking and preserving lemons!
All that’s required, is a wide-mouth quart jar, about 6-7 smaller lemons, some kosher salt and some extra lemon juice (which I needed, but I guess you don’t always need it). I chose smaller lemons, because for me, they are more versatile. I would have preferred to use Meyer lemons, but this isn’t their season. They have a much thinner skin, are more floral and slightly sweeter than the lemons we normally see in the stores. I understand they are more like the varieties one would find in the Mediterranean part of the world. When you can find them, buy some and use them. Be forewarned, they are loaded with seeds!
Anyway, I cut the lemon ends off, then standing the lemon on one end, I cut it in quarters, ALMOST all of the way through, like this. Then, using my handy-dandy fingers, spread the quarters slightly and sprinkle a heap of salt, okay about 2 teaspoons, into the center of the lemon. This next part I didn’t bother to photograph. The Goddess got caught up in the process and with the salt on her fingers…salt and cameras don’t mix. So you’ll have to use your imagination and it’s pretty straight-forward. Put a couple of tablespoons of salt in the bottom of the jar and push the lemons down hard into the jar. You want some of the juice to come out and play with the salt! I put 2-3 whole cloves in the jar’s bottom and I’ll put 2-3 on top, which clearly I didn’t photograph, but I just think they will add something interesting to the end product…we’ll see. Anyway, just keep almost quartering, salting and packing the lemons into the jar. If you need to, add lemon juice until the lemons are covered, or submerged. I did need to add about 1/3 cup. That’s pretty much it, at least in terms of actual work. This is what you end up with. Now we need to have patience. As you know, that’s not one of The Goddess’s better qualities. She’s working on it and this is actually a perfect tool to help her. It’s therapeutic. That’s right. She’s preserving lemons for therapy!
This is what it looks like the next day. Remember to shake the jar gently, agitate it is more accurate. There, now you can see the clove and I also put about 1/2-inch of broken cinnamon stick in, too. This is what it looks like on day 3. You can see a few of the bubbles around the edge, as they begin to ferment. This is what our lemons after 1 week. I turned the jar upside-down for 1 day then turned it right-side-up for the rest of the time. This is the end of week 2. Look at those babies! They are changing before our eyes, aren’t they? And FINALLY, this is the end of week 3 and we can use them now. IF you want to be a purist, you probably should leave them for another week, but we know The Goddess isn’t too pure!
To use our preserved lemons, we’re only going to use the rinds. Get rid of the pulp and seeds, please. You want to remove the salt, so remember to rinse them off well and dry them.
The peaches are still in and I think that a Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette is just the thing.
Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette
- 2 garlic cloves, cut into pieces
- 2-3 quarters of preserved lemon, rind and flesh
- 1/4 teaspoon pink peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons white wine, white balsamic or champagne vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1/3 cup really good olive oil
- 6-8 parsley leaves
Place the garlic, lemon, pink peppercorns, vinegar and honey in a food processor bowl. Pulse until the mixture becomes a paste (more or less). With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Add water or additional olive oil to achieve desired consistency. Add the parsley and whirl until it’s finely chopped; don’t purée it. You want everything nice and creamy before you add the parsley. Chill for a couple of hours to allow the flavors to meld.
Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2015. All rights reserved.
I’ll use this on a salad with sliced peaches, some thinly sliced red onion, dried cranberries and toasted pecans (or pistachios) on a bed of arugula. Happy summer day!