“This dish needs….something.”
Have you ever prepared what you think will be the most delicious dish ever only to discover it needed…..something?
More zest, more twang, more kick, more…SOMETHING!
What to do, what to do?
Before you start digging around in your condiment shelf, open up your produce drawer and pull out a lemon.
Or better yet, pop open a jar of preserved lemons!
What the heck is a preserved lemon?
It’s a fresh lemon that has spent a couple weeks marinating in lemon juice and kosher salt. Preserved lemons are a staple in Moroccan cooking and are used mainly in curries and stews.
What does a preserved lemon taste like?
A properly preserved lemon should taste briny, tart, slightly bitter and yes, lemony.
Meyer lemons are traditionally used since they are sweeter, but when a dear friend gave me five regular lemons off of her tree, I couldn’t resist turning them into something special.
How do you use a preserved lemon?
I add preserved lemons to vinaigrettes, couscous, roast chicken, cream sauces, curries…basically anything that benefits from a burst of lemon.
Depending on how strong or delicate the flavor of your dish is though, you may prefer to lightly rinse the lemon and use only the rind.
However, for bland dishes like couscous, I find that a non-rinsed wedge, pulp and all, blends right in and tastes fabulous.
So if you love exploring new flavors and are looking to find that special “something,” give preserved lemons a try.
If you don’t have access to Meyer lemons, just used regular lemons with thin rinds.
*Fresh lemons (For one 12-ounce jar of preserved lemons, you will need about 5-6 large lemons.)
Start by juicing about 2-3 large lemons. Save the rinds. (You will be using this juice to cover the cooked lemons once they are placed into jars.)
Next, bring a pot of water to a boil and carefully drop in 3-4 slightly firm fresh lemons along with the leftover rinds from juicing.
Parboil for 3 minutes and remove.
Allow lemons to cool just slightly before cutting them into quarters.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of kosher salt over the lemon…
…and one tablespoon of kosher salt into a clean, sterile canning jar.
Place salted, quartered lemon in the jar. Repeat until jar is full (about 2 lemons per 12-ounce jar).
Fill jar with the freshly squeezed lemon juice:
Store lemons in a cool dark place or the refrigerator and allow to marinate for two weeks before use. Every few days, give the jar a shake to distribute the salt and juices.
Keep refrigerated after use.
Again, preserved lemons aren’t just for Moroccan food; they bring zest and depth to many dishes that need a little extra “something.”
Have fun and experiment!
Who knows, you may discover a new favorite condiment.