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Relapse: Preserved lemons September 16, 2012

Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Drinks, Fruit, Relapse.
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Relapse: An occasional series where I discuss several ways of preparing an ingredient.

It being the season for stupid amounts of lemons, I decided to make some preserved lemons. I kept mine pretty straightforward, packing them in salt with a couple of bayleaves. I left them for about a month, and hae recently started using them. I find these preserved lemons very versatile and thought I’d share a few things I do with them.

Chicken tagine with preserved lemon and olives
This is of course a very popular way to use preserved lemons, but this doesn’t mean it’s not delicious. I blended up preserved lemons, garlic, chili, onion, coriander, cumin and saffron with some olive oil until it formed a paste. I marinated the chicken pieces in this mixture for about 2 hours. I chopped up more onions and tomatoes, and placed them in the bottom of a cast iron pot. I put the chicken on top, adding more tomatoes, preserved lemons and olives. I let it cook over a low stove for about 45 minutes, before serving with couscous.

Technically I probably can’t call this a tagine since I didn’t cook it in a tagine, but I think regardless of what you cook this in, the flavours are going to be fantastic.

Preserved lemon martini
You could celebrate how delicious your tagine is with a cockail! This is a variation on a dirty martini, using the lemon juice left over from the preserving process. Make a martini how ever you like it (as long as it’s with gin, of course), and add a splash or two of the lemon juice liquid. I also added a couple of slices of the preserved lemon as a garnish.

Not surprisingly, this is quite similar to a dirty martini, but with a lemony flavour instead of only just the brine.

Preserved lemon salt
Following a post by A Cook Blog, I thought I’d try dehydrating some of the liquid left over from the preserving process. I didn’t use much liquid but had enough to line the bottom of a ramekin. I dried it in a low oven, and after a couple of hours, I was rewarded with some very intense, flavoursome salt.

This is a great way to add an accent of lemon to a dish – it’s very strong, so you don’t need much, but it makes a big difference even in small amounts.

There’s so many ways to use preserved lemons, and I would definitely recommend any of three listed above. I still have lots of preserved lemons left so will be trying out some other ways to use this ingredient. But in the meantime, I’m off to make another preserved lemon martini…

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