One batch of preserved lemons, four different recipes – The Guardian
When I first discovered the nice, citrus background that preserved lemon brings to recipes, I became a little obsessed with it and worked my way through an entire jar in no time. It’s a traditional ingredient in North African cuisine, where it’s used in tagines, but I find myself using it for everything from seasoning hot oil when frying seafood, to making sauces for pasta dishes and seasoning grain-based salads. The distinctively fragrant dimension it adds can become quite addictive when you start playing, and it works particularly well with fish, seafood, poultry, and roasted vegetables.
I love to put some in a chicken before roasting it, then bathe the bird with lemon-infused juices, or work it in a couscous filling to enter the cavity.
Canned lemons can still be a pretty hard ingredient to come by (although Belazu makes a glorious one), but thankfully, they’re incredibly easy to make very well yourself. It only takes a little patience for the salt to work its magic before you can enjoy the brilliantly intense flavor. I encourage you to make a jar and store it in your refrigerator; It is a beautiful shiny and golden thing and is also a great gift for friends.
To make a jar of canned lemons
130g sea salt100g melted sugarA sprig of thyme leaves, sprigs removed5 large unwaxed organic lemons, washed, thinly sliced, discarded pips 1 tablespoon olive oil 1
Mix the salt, sugar and thyme, then sprinkle a pinch
on the canning jar
. Dip one side of the lemon slices in the salt and sugar mixture. Coat, with the salty side facing down, in the jar. Occasionally spread a little more of the mixture on top. Press the layers down to squeeze the remaining lemon slices, until you have reached the top of the jar. In the end, the juice and brine made by themselves should completely cover the layers. Cover with the oil, making sure that none of the lemon is in contact with the air. Seal the bottle. Refrigerate for up to 2-3 months.
The Sauce Revolvida: Kale, Toasted Pumpkin Seeds, and Canned Lemon Pesto (pictured above)
This versatile pesto is fabulous on top of grilled steak or poached eggs, scrambled through pasta or spread on toast.
Makes 4 servings 40g pumpkin seeds A pinch of cumin seeds 4 garlic cloves, peeled, but left whole 80 g kale, destemmed and washed11/2 canned lemon slices, meat and marrow removed and finely chopped 1 tablespoon lemon juice20g grated parmesanA generous pinch of red chili flakes6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oilSalt and black pepper
1 Fry the pumpkin seeds without oil for a few minutes, until they begin to look toasted around the edges. Add the cumin seeds and toast the batch for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Boil garlic cloves in salted water for 3 minutes. Add the kale and cook for 1 minute, maybe a little less, until bright green and supple. Drain immediately and cool in cold water.
3. Mix garlic cloves, cumin and pumpkin seeds in a food processor, until chopped. Add the kale, canned lemons, lemon juice, cumin, parmesan, chili, 1 tablespoon olive oil and blitz again until chopped and well combined. Transfer to another bowl, add the remaining olive oil and mix by hand. Season to taste.
Pasta dinner: Orecchiette with roasted cauliflower
, canned lemon and hazelnuts I
came up with this dish one day when I hadn’t been shopping and made a fridge fodder, but I had some things languishing in the fridge, like a splash of white wine, half a cauliflower, some anchovies and canned lemon. I also used some white seedless grapes to add a little sweetness to the rich sauce of canned lemon and anchovies, but you could easily use golden sultanas. This is good with orecchiette, but any small, dry pasta will work.
Serves2 1/2 heads of cauliflower, washed, dried and cut into florets Extra virgin olive oilA pinch of red chili flakesSalt and black pepper1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped1 garlic clove, crushed6 canned lemon slices, meat and white rind removed, finely chopped 6 anchovies filled with salt, washed, filleted and chopped20 ml dry white wineA handful of white seedless grapes, cut into quarters (or golden sultanas) 200g orecchiette or Messicani pasta2 tablespoon double cream1 tablespoon lemon juice1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped Parmesan, to serveA handful of toasted hazelnuts, chopped into piecesExtra virgin olive oil, for spraying
1 Set the oven to 180C/350F/gas brand 4. Mix the cauliflower in 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the chili flakes and a pinch of salt. Roast for 15 minutes until it begins to brown and smells nutty. Remove from oven and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, fry the shallot and garlic over medium heat for 4 minutes, or until the shallot softens. Add the lemon. Add the anchovies until they dissolve. Add the wine. Cook until almost evaporated. Add 250ml of water and grapes or sultanas. Reduce by half.
3 Meanwhile, cook the pasta for 5-8 minutes in plenty of boiling salt water until al dente. Drain immediately.
4. Add the cream, roasted cauliflower and pasta. Pull to cover. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir through the parsley. Serve with chopped hazelnuts, parmesan and a splash of olive oil on top.
The fish dish: fried cod cheeks with canned lemon and capers
You’ll probably have to ask your fishmonger ahead of time for cod cheeks, but they’re worth calling because this meaty, thrifty cut is fantastic for cooking and eating. Cook them in a very short time and make a pan sauce with canned lemon, capers and parsley to be placed with a spoon.
Serve 2-4tasteless oil (such as rapeseed)500g cod cheeks, clean and tendon-free (or cod fillets) Salt and black pepper2 slices of canned lemon, marrow and meat without removing and finely chopped 1 tablespoon olive oil10 g unsalted butter 2 tablespoons capers, drained 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 Add a splash of unflavored oil to a very hot skillet. Season the cod cheeks with sea salt. Add to the pan for 1-2 minutes, untouched, until they form a golden crust and move away from the bottom of the pan. Turn it over. Cook for another 2 minutes (total cooking should not exceed 5 minutes). Remove from the pan and let stand.
2 Lower heat to medium. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and lemon. Cook for 2 minutes, until melted. Add the butter, capers and lemon juice. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, until combined.
3. Serve the cod with sautéed potatoes and the sauce with a tablespoon on top.
Warmest weekend: slow-cooked lamb neck with
canned lemon seasoning
I love the fragrant, citrus depth that canned lemon adds to the long, smooth stew of this tasty cut of lamb, and then the fresh punch it brings to the flavor, cutting out the fat.
Serve4 1 tablespoon unflavored oil, plus some extra lamb neck1kg – 4 pieces (about 4 cm each) with bone in – or neck fillets Salt and black pepper1 onion, finely chopped1 carrot, finely chopped1 celery stick, finely chopped3 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole2 bay leaves2 thyme stick, chopped leaves1 tablespoon harissa2
slices of canned lemon, Meat and marrow uncut and finely chopped 150 ml dry white wine
For seasoning 4 slices of canned lemon, marrow and pulp removed1 tablespoon fresh mint, finely chopped3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil1/2 lemon juice
1 Preheat oven to 160C/325F/gas brand 3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil over high heat in an oven-proof casserole. Season the lamb pieces with salt and pepper, then brown in lots to a nice deep brown color for a few minutes on each side, transferring them to a plate as you go.
2 There should be plenty of residual lamb fat in the casserole, but add additional oil if needed. Lower the heat to medium. Add onion, carrot and celery. Cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened and aromatic. Scrape off any brown pieces of lamb that may have stuck to the bottom of the pan (discard anything burned). Add the garlic, bay leaf and thyme, harissa and canned lemon and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring, until everything smells great. Add the lamb to the plate, putting them flat. Cover the meat with wine and 600 ml of cold water, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook in the oven for 11/2-2 hours, until the meat falls off the bone.
3 Mix the seasoning ingredients in a bowl just before serving and serve the lamb neck in cooked pearl barley, with some of the seasoning with a spoon.
Rosie Birkett is a food writer, stylist, and author of A Lot on Her Plate (Hardie Grant Books); @rosiefoodie