In 1988 Paula Wolfert’s cookbook, WORLD OF FOODS, introduced me to PRESERVED LEMONS. The dishes in this book share common elements: deep, earthy flavours; richness without heaviness; and “big” flavour. Paula Wolfert is probably America’s most outstanding food writer. This book conveys the irresistible sheer pleasure of preparing extraordinary food. I have loved every recipe I’ve cooked from any of her books.
PRESERVED LEMONS gives you that oh so important bold flavour. Use them in salads, to finish tagines, and definitely in Caesar Salads. The recipe is quick and simple. Make lots because they keep months in your refrigerator. Put them into small jars. They make dazzling gifts.
SEVEN DAY PRESERVED LEMONS
2 Ripe lemons, 1/3 cup kosher salt (coarse), 1/2 cup lemon juice, olive oil
Scrub the lemons and dry well. Cut each lemon into four quarters leaving the bottom still attached. (so you’re not quite cutting all the way through).
Fan the lemons and pack as much salt as you can between the wedges. Pack them into a 1/2 pint glass jar with a glass or plastic-coated lid. Cover them with lemon juice (I use Real Lemon). Close the jar tightly and let the lemons ripen at room temperature for 7 days, shaking the jar each day to distribute the salt and juice. To store, add olive oil to cover and refrigerate for up to six months. I always use at least 6-8 lemons. What luxury to have these lemons tucked away in your larder. Share them they are so wonderful.
To use rinse the salt from the lemon wedge, peel the flesh away and toss. Then finely slice and enjoy the amazing salty lemon flavour.