Moroccan Preserved Lemons
Preserved lemons are an incredibly distinct and subtle ingredient used in North African, Middle Eastern, and even certain East Asian cuisines. They may be added to soups, stews, salads, rice dishes, tagines, used as a stuffing, baked in a savory or even sweet pie…there are endless uses. Since it takes a month or so for the lemons to preserve and the flavor to really develop, I wanted to get on it immediately. I’ve been envisioning a beautiful sauce or even a bright salad to be served with summer’s grilled fish dishes and a cold goblet of rosé for a summer Sunday “family” dinner party…and maybe a friendly game of spades.
Although the flesh is used, it’s truly the peel and pith that are the celebrated ingredients. Meyer lemons are great for this because they naturally have a softer peel that eats very well. A cross between a lemon and a mandarin, their sweetness is an added bonus. If only regular lemons are available, go with them – that’s the tradition anyway.
Many recipes call for various spices like coriander and bay leaf to be included in the pickling liquid; some even add rose or orange blossom water. I’m keeping this super simple because I want these little lemons to be as versatile as possible. Enjoy!
Meyer lemons or regular lemons
I’m not giving exact quantities because it really depends on how large the jar is that you are using. You want enough lemons to fit in the jar and be completely submerged in lemon juice. You also want to be able to apply some level of pressure on the lemons so the juice oozes out of them.
Start by slicing each lemon into quarters but still keeping them intact at the stem end. Then, take ¼ tsp of sea salt per lemon and rub it onto the inside flesh. Place each lemon into the jar pressing down as you go. When the lemons are all prepped and in the jar, add enough lemon juice to cover completely. Weight down or use the lid of the jar as pressure and seal.
At this point, you just want to store them in a cool place. As I mentioned, they will take about a month, but they do look beautiful on the kitchen counter!