I was lucky enough to spend some time with my mother this winter. In addition to spending a lot of time walking our dogs (between the two of us we have three large dogs) and hanging out on the beach, we played around in the kitchen. Among our conquests – preserved lemons and the perfect egg salad sandwich.
I like cooking with family. It’s how most of us obsessed with the food got started - little hands in our mother's hands as we learned how to knead bread and mix dough.
As for the preserved lemons – the recipe couldn’t be easier. Plus, you’ll have them on hand for all of your favorite Moroccan dishes.
You will need 4 organic lemons, 2 Tablespoons and 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt and a mason jar – the prettier the better. Additionally, you can add extra spices to the jar such as 4 bay leaves, ½ teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 dried chile, a few cloves or coriander or cumin seeds.
1. Gather up fresh lemons and wash them well. Meyer lemons also work very well – when available. The preserved lemons will keep up to a year.
2. Make two deep, perpendicular cuts in the lemon, almost quartering the lemon but leaving it attached. Pour salt into the cuts and stuff the lemons into a sterilized mason jar.
3. Add the bay leaves or whatever spices you’d like, then top it off with the lemon juice from the two remaining lemons. Finally, fill the rest of the jar with boiled, cooled water and any remaining salt that you didn’t pack into the lemons. Seal the jar, shake well and store at room temperature. Occasionally shake the jar so the salt will redistribute. Leave it alone for at least three to four weeks so the lemon rinds will soften. To use, rinse thoroughly and discard the seeds.