Moroccan Preserved Lemon

appetizer fermenting hors d'oeuvre Feb 25, 2021

Preserving lemons in salt intensifies the flavor of the peel while taking away the bitterness. It also preserves the lemons and creates a fermented food that is full of probiotics.

A traditional condiment in Morocco, preserved lemon is delicious added to stews or minced and added to salads, dressing, or olives as below. They will last in your fridge for up to six months.

To use the preserved lemon peel, place the lemon wedge flesh side up and remove the pith by scraping it with a spoon. Rinse the rind well with water to remove the excess salt. Slice into slivers or mince and add to salad dressing, potato and other salads, chicken dishes… be creative!

Traditional Moroccan Preserved Lemons

2 ripe lemons

1/3 cup course sea salt

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

  1. Scrub the lemons and dry well. Cut each into six to eight wedges. Toss them with the salt and place in a 1/2-pint glass jar with a glass or plastic-coated lid. 

  2. Pour in the lemon juice and pry a knife down the sides of the jar to remove air bubbles.

  3. Close the jar tightly and let the lemons ripen at room temperature in a dark cupboard for 7 days, shaking the jar each day to distribute the salt and juice. Store in the fridge for up to six months.

Recipe by Paula Wollfert

Quick Preserved Lemons

While not fermented, these are delicious and will do in a pinch.

2 Lemon 

1 Tbls. sea salt

1/4 cup fresh lemon Juice 

1/4 cup water 

1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns

1/2 bay leaf & 1 cardamom pod

  1. Score lemons lightly, being careful not to cut through to the lemon flesh. Make approximately 12 scores around each lemon. Put all ingredients into a sauce pot, and bring it to a boil. Boil for 30 minutes, and the lemons will be ready to use.

  2. Strain the lemons through a sieve, reserving all of the liquid in a container.

  3. Discard the peppercorns, bay leaf, and cardamom pod.

  4. Store the Preserved Lemons in the reserved liquid in the refrigerator if reserving for later use. Keeps for 2 weeks.

Olive & Lemon Salad

Serve on a charcuterie board, Mezze platter or by itself.If you’d like to store in the fridge to have on hand, leave out the parsley and cilantro as they will discolor. You can also mince just the cilantro stems and add them as the hold up a bit better than the leaves.

1 ½ cups cracked green or black olives, Castelvetrano olives, oil-cured olives or a mixture of olives either pitted or with the pit

1 clove garlic, peeled and green shoot removed

6 sprigs cilantro and 1 sprig parsley, coarsely chopped

1 tsp. sweet paprika

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. cumin

1 1/2 Tbls. olive oil

2 Tbls. fresh lemon juice (optional)

1/4 preserved lemon rind, rinsed, pith removed and cut into thin slivers

  1. Place the olives in a bowl. In a mortar, crush the garlic with a pinch of salt until it forms a paste. 

  2. Add the chopped herbs and crush until coarsely smooth. 

  3. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Let the olives stand for 2 to 3 hours before serving.

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