Sunday, September 4, 2011

Moroccan Preserved Lemon Lusciousness

What can you do with these:
and this:
and this:
Make yourself some Moroccan Preserved Lemon Lusciousness, of course!

Moroccan preserved lemons lend a luscious, full-bodied taste to any recipe.  They are an unusual accompaniment for modern recipes here in the USA.  However, they are a regular for Moroccan or other African, Greek, Italian, and Asian cuisine.  Dice a few preserved lemons to spice up a bowl of steamed veggies like green beans or carrots.  Mash up a lemon with some fresh herbs like dill or tarragon into butter and smother over grilled fish or chicken. Slice thinly and add to your favorite tuna salad recipe for a spicier taste.  Toss some into salsa, tapenade, and ceviche.  Of course they can be added to the traditional meat tangine (Le Souk Ceramique CT-NAT-12 12-Inch Cookable Tagine, Natural Clear Glaze) or Persian rice pilaf.  Garnish your vanilla ice cream.  Anything you add Moroccan Preserved Lemon to will just taste lovelier. 

6-8 lemons (Eureka or Meyer lemons)
Olive oil
Vegetable oil
Sea salt (3 tablespoons plus 6-8 teaspoons)
5 whole cloves
3/4 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3-5 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon seeds of a cardamom pod
1 teaspoon black tellicherry peppercorns


(To make these little gems will take two days of preparation and 3 weeks waiting period for them to cure.)

Day 1
Cut lemons in half.  Then cut each lemon half into fourths.  Take out all the seeds.  Cover lemon slices in 3 tablespoons of salt in a large bowl.  Mix well.  Set aside for 24 hours.  Lemons will soften as they sit in the salt.

Day 2
Make spice combination by grinding the following spices in a spice grinder like this one (Cuisinart SG-10 Electric Spice-and-Nut Grinder):  seeds of a cardamom pod, black tellicherry peppercorns.    Then in a small bowl combine the ground cardamom, peppercorns, paprika, cayenne pepper and 1 teaspoon salt.

Layer the lemons in a large sterilized mason jar (Ball Wide-Mouth Mason Canning Jar 1 Qt., Case of 12) or a French canning jar (Le Parfait French Glass Canning Jar with 85mm Gasket and Lid - 2 Liter).  

Sprinkle each layer of lemons with the spice combination, a dash of olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of salt.

Every third layer of lemon slices, place 1 bay leaf and 1 whole clove on top.

Place a cinnamon stick on the center layer of lemon slices.

Cover the lemons in a mixture consisting of equal parts olive oil and vegetable oil.

Cover with a lid.  Place in a fridge for 3 weeks, giving it a quick shake every few days.  
Keeps of 6-8 weeks after curing time. 

To use the lemon, remove it from the oil and rinse.  Scrape out the pulp.  The pulp can be pushed through a sieve and the juice used to flavor your recipe.  Throw out the pulp.  Slice, dice, or mash the lemon skin and use in your recipe.

Be prepared for a flavor explosion in your mouth when you taste one of these.  Delicious!

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