There are a few inspirations behind this recipe for Moroccan preserved lemons today. First of which includes the simple fact that I love lemons! Lemon in my water, lemon meringue, lemon squeezed over just about any pasta dish I make, lemon for cleaning, lemon for lightening my hair. You name it, I’ve lemon-ed it. No scurvy for this lass.
Second reason: one of my favorite neighborhood spots (The Misfit) serves an incredible salad with preserved lemons. Every time I go there, I order it. Even over the grass-fed burger, the truffle fries, the sumptuous decadent other items that spread over their menu like a poster child for heart disease. And yet, somehow, this salad perseveres. I’m serious. I actually, really want the veg on this one. The finely minced preserved lemon stands out as salty, mellowly acidic bursts of color and flavor in the kale-dominated salad.
Third reason and perhaps the most compelling: this condiment is really a testament to home cooking. Making preserved lemons from scratch tastes far superior to anything you can buy in a store. It’s so easy to do and enhances the flavors of just about any meat dish you may be making. Or, in the former case, a salad as well. Not to mention, that you can stand proud after you’re done and say hey, look, I pickled lemons! I pickled something! Aren’t I awesome?!
The spices are what makes these preserved lemons Moroccan style. If you want, you can play with the amounts, adding a bit more spice or less. You can eliminate the spices completely and just have naked preserved lemons. Still delicious. After about a month, they should be ready to eat. The rind should be soft and easy to cut. Yum. I hope you enjoy!
Moroccan Preserved Lemons
Diabetic, Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Line the bottom of a 1-qt self-seal jar with kosher salt.
Cut the stem-side section off of each lemon.
Almost quarter each of the lemons, making a criss-cross that goes about a 1/2 inch above the lemon's base, still keeping them intact.
Use salt to generously coat the inside of each quarter of lemon. Don't be stingy, each lemon should have about a tablespoon of salt.
Using the bottom of a wooden spoon or a muddler should do the trick, gently place one lemon in, pushing it down to the bottom to release its juices, being careful to keep the lemon intact. Gently rotate from quarter to quarter to release maximum juice.
Keep doing this until the jar is halfway filled. Then, place the cinnamon stick, cloves, and peppercorns in the jar and continue adding and juicing the lemons until the jar is filled.
If necessary, add extra lemon juice so that all of the lemons are covered. FInish with an additional sprinkling of salt.
Leave the jar in a cool, dry place for about a week. Give it a shake every now and again, turning it upside down to let the juices move around a bit. After a month, the lemons will be super soft and ready to use in any recipe that calls for preserved lemon.