This time of year I love cooking with citrus, making marmalade and preserving lemons
I am no Martha Stewart, but i do like to take the time to make a small batch of pixie marmalade to share with friends and clients and preserving lemons to use in recipes throughout the year
I often get asked the question ‘What do you like to use them with?’ In hummus, in dressing, and in my North African condiment called Chermoula. Recipe below
I like to serve Chermoula sauce with grilled fish or shrimp, as a marinade for chicken or vegetables and any leftover sauce can be spooned into scrambled eggs and soup
Many of the recipes in my cookbooks use preserved lemons, I’ll tell you, these lemons can literally be replaced in any recipe that calls for lemon juice.
I also love adding pureed preserved lemon into labneh, a thick strained yogurt ‘cheese’ serving with just about everything.
This recipe combines both salt and sugar, making these preserves versatile in many sweet and savory dishes. A special preserving process requires making a brine, which is not unlike pickling and takes a bit of time. After the ingredients are combined, they are left to loosen up and transform. Once you've preserved the lemons, it's the rind, not the juice or pulp, that you'll be using in most recipes. After a few weeks, you will have something that adds brilliance to dressings and these Moroccan dishes.
Servings: 1 quart jar
- 6 organic lemons
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 3 cloves
- Set a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil.
- Scrub the lemons well and place into boiling water for 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the lemons to an ice bath (a medium bowl filled with half ice and half cold water). Reserve 2 cups of the cooking liquid.
- Mix the sugar, salt, coriander seeds, turmeric, and cloves in a small bowl.
- Score the lemons by cutting each into quarters–but not all the way through to the other end.
- In a large bowl combine the lemons with the sugar, salt, and spices from the small bowl. Then place the lemons in a clean 1-quart Mason jar. Sprinkle with any remaining sugar-salt-spice mixture, pour the reserved cooking liquid in, and cover completely, pushing the lemons down with a wooden spoon to completely immerse them in the liquid. Cover with a lid and chill for 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Chef's Note: Many recipes call for using only the rind of the preserved lemons and discarding the membrane, but I often use the whole lemon. When you remove a lemon from the brining liquid, be sure to push any seeds out with your fiingers. Chop or puree the whole preserved lemon and add to your preparation.
A North African sauce, traditionally paired with fish, chermoula is a delicious mix of fresh herbs, earthy spices, and acidic preserved lemon. I think it's fantastic with other dishes as well; I like to stir spoonfuls of this pungent sauce into soups and couscous, or serve it with chicken.
Servings: 20 servings
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon Spanish pimentón (smoked paprika)
- 2 tablespoons preserved lemon rind, chopped See Recipe
- 1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chili paste (or 1 teaspoon harissa spice blend)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Sprinkle the cumin seeds in a skillet and toast them over medium to high heat, stirring, until they smell fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a food processor (or in a mortar and pestle), place the parsley, cilantro, garlic, pimentón, preserved lemon, olive oil, chili paste, salt, and toasted cumin. Blend or grind until smooth.
- Taste and add some of the lemon juice. Adjust seasoning and add more salt, if needed; however, preserved lemons are salty, so be sure to check for seasoning. Add more olive oil, if necessary, until the sauce becomes a loose paste.
- Store the chermoula, covered, in a nonreactive glass container. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. Use chermoula as a marinade on chicken or seafood, and toss onto vegetables before roasting or grilling.