Preserved Lemon Recipe
Bryn Mooth is back. And this week she brings with her a “supersaltysourcitrus flavor” (in her own words) in a homemade treat she discovered on her travels to Marrakech. Dig in.
Fun Ingredient of the Week: Preserved Lemon
Have you ever been traveling and marveled at some new food or product that you swear you’ve never seen at home? (A writer smarter than I called this phenomenon amnesic product recollection.) During our winter trip to Marrakech, and especially during the Moroccan cooking class that I took, I discovered lemons preserved in salt. Their supersaltysourcitrus flavor was new to me. Imagine my surprise when I found them not only at Dean’s Mediterranean Market at Findlay Market in Cincinnati, but also on the shelves at Williams-Sonoma.
Now I’m totally hooked on preserved lemon. Finely minced, rind and all, preserved lemon adds a salty brightness to any dish. I brought a jar of preserved lemons home from Marrakech, but I find the Moroccan lemons to be a bit too bitter in a way that overwhelms other flavors in the dish. So I decided to make my own, which is ridiculously easy, using a technique from Paula Wolfert’s 1973 book “Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco.”
What can you do with preserved lemon?
- 3 or 4 Meyer lemons (preferably organic), plus additional 1 or 2 for juice as needed
- coarse or kosher salt
- additional lemon juice as needed
- (Note: the original recipe calls for bay leaf and peppercorns, which I omitted, preferring the pure lemon taste)
- Wash the lemons thoroughly; use a paring knife to slice them from end to end, stopping about 1/2 inch from the stem end (the lemons will resemble a cootie catcher!). Separate the slices gently, and liberally sprinkle each surface with salt; press the lemons back into shape.
- Prepare a jar (I like to sterilize jars with a rinse of boiling water). Add a layer of salt at the bottom, then place a lemon in the jar and squish it down. Sprinkle with a layer of salt; repeat with the other lemons. Add more lemon juice to cover if needed. Cover jar and let sit on the counter at room temperature for 3 to 4 weeks, shaking gently every day. Then store in the refrigerator.
More about our guest blogger, Bryn Mooth:
Bryn is an experienced, energetic and creative writer/editor focused on inspiring people to eat locally, cook simply and enjoy healthy lifestyles. She writes the Midwest-based food blog Writes4Food.com, where she shares recipes and kitchen wisdom and explores regional foods and producers. Find her on Twitter as Writes4Food.