In searching for preserved lemon to make Warm White Bean Salad with Arugula Pesto and Preserved Lemon (yesterday's post), I quickly did a google search while in the middle of the pickle aisle at my local supermarket and found a forum on Food52 with commenters mentioning they had seen them at their local Whole Foods in the olive bar section.  One of the co-founders of Food52 also added on that a Middle Eastern market would carry it.  I didn't want to make another stop, so I tried another search for how to make my own, but discovered the lemons take 2-3 weeks before they are ready.  Oy vey.  One more google search in the middle of that pickle aisle led me to Mark Bittman's "Quick Preserved Lemons."  Just three hours waiting and the preserved lemons are in business!  They really added a nice flavor to the pesto and were worth the anxiety.

Quick "Preserved" Lemons

Time: At least 3 hours, largely unattended

4 lemons, unwaxed (or scrubbed of wax)
1 tbsp salt
2 tbsp sugar

Dice lemons, including peel, removing as many seeds as possible.  Put the lemons and their juice in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and sugar: toss well and transfer to a jar.  Let the mixture sit for at least 3 hours at room temperature, shaking the jar periodically.  It can be served at that point or refrigerated for up to a week.

Yield: About 2 cups (I cut the recipe in 1/4 since I only needed 2 1/2 tbsp for the pesto, and had plenty left over).

The "preserved" lemons made in this quick recipe can only be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, whereas preserved lemons made the traditional way can last up to 6 months in the refrigerator. I would assume it is because of the much higher amount of salt used in the traditional recipe as well as the method of leaving the lemons more whole and submerging them in salt and lemon juice.

P.S. I've checked at two Whole Foods now and have not been able to locate preserved lemons anywhere in the store - I've checked (and asked) by the olive bar, by the pickles, by the jams, and by the spices but to no avail.  Please leave a comment if anyone finds a source for these locally, would love to compare to homemade!

No comments:

Post a Comment