Preserved lemons – a January pick me up

This dark, murky time of year, when the promise of Christmas has passed calls for something bright, and fresh that can be packed away to mature and be ready for eating with your meals in the weeks and months ahead.

I have long been a fan of Ottolenghi’s recipe for preserved lemons. These little taste explosions are good with so many dishes, and literally feel as though they are lifting you from the inside out. They make a brilliant accompaniment to meat, fish, lentils, cous-cous and salad. The homemade version pack an unbeatable fragrant punch.

Chose a jar to fit 6 full lemons, wash them and cut a deep cross to almost the bottom of the fruit, leaving at least 1cm intact. Fill the cross with a tablespoon of salt, place the lemons in the jar and leave for a week. Next, squeeze as much of the juice out of the lemons as possible and put the juice and fruit back in the jar with 2 rosemary stalks, a large red chilli and then cover with a thin layer of olive oil. Seal your jar, and leave in a cool cupboard for a minimum of 4 weeks. The flavour will only improve the longer you are able to leave them. When you are ready to use remove from the jar and slice.

These make a lovely gift, and are a wonderful thing to have stashed away in the store cupboard.

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