Lemon Slices in Spicy Olive Oil

Westerners tend to use just the juice of the lemon, but North Africans preserve whole lemons in a brine made with lemon juice and plenty of coarse sea salt. They eat the skin and white pith of the preserved lemons, which acquire a distinctive flavor and aroma. Chop and add to potato salads, steamed cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, or bitter greens; also to grilled chicken or fish, and to stufngs for pork and poultry, and wherever “preserved lemons” are called for. Besides the slices, use a few drops of the strongly avored olive oil, to which you may add a few chiles, to enliven dressings and marinades.
Mediterranean Hot & Spicy by Aglaia Kremezi; copyright © Broadway Books

Mediterranean Hot & Spicy by Aglaia Kremezi; copyright broadway books

Lemon Slices in Spicy Olive Oil

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    3 or 4 lemons, preferably organic 2 to 3 dried peperoncini (or any other chile), cut in half lengthwise with scissors but still attached to the stem
    4 to 6 tablespoons sea salt About 1 cup olive oil


    Total: More than 60 min
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    • 1

      Wash and dry the lemons thoroughly.

    • 2

      Cut them into 1/8 inch-thick slices and lay one layer in a stainless-steel colander.

    • 3

      Sprinkle the lemon slices with plenty of salt and repeat, making more layers until you have used all the lemons and salt.

    • 4

      Set aside to drain for 24 hours.

    • 5

      Press the lemon slices carefully with paper towels to extract most of the juice, then pack the slices in a 1pint jar, adding the peperoncini between the slices.

    • 6

      Completely cover the lemon slices with olive oil.

    • 7

      Close the jar. The lemon slices will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 6 months.

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