Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Week # 1-Recipe Challenge-Preserved Lemons

It's the end of the citrus season and we have been feasting on tangelos, grapefruits, and lemons from our trees in the backyard for most of the winter. I've been so lucy-goosey with the lemons, not thinking about the inevitable days of summer when I will actually have to pay dearly for one average size lemon. So, in an attempt to relish the last remaining fruits, I decided to try preserving the lemons.
I first tried preserved lemons at North in a short ribs and gnocchi dish. "What is this fabulous lemony, salty/sweet goodness nestled amidst the meat and pasta? " I asked the waiter. He had no clue so he asked the chef and I was told it was a preserved lemon. I have since become somewhat educated on the use of the lemons, particularly in tangines, which is a cooking vessel and a dish that is best known as a meaty stew with vegetables. I read over numerous recipes online trying to gather enough information to just wing it. I decided on a version of Thomas Keller's recipe that uses not only salt but sugar.
So here's what I did.....

Preserved Lemons

Fresh unwaxed lemons
sea salt
turbindao sugar

Cut the lemons into thick slices ( or quarter) mix an equal amount of salt and sugar ( I started with 1/4 cup of each) and dip the slices into the mixture. Start layering the slices and as you layer push them down-this will release the juices. The container should be filled with the liquid. If it is not, you can add extra lemon juice. Mine was filled so I didn't have to. Let sit out for 3 days, turning the jar over once in a while. Then put in the fridge for several weeks. In colder climates. I guess you can leave them out in a pantry.

They need to cure so I'll get back to you on how they taste and fare in various dishes.

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