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
|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|
Wash and dry the lemons thoroughly.
Cut them into 1/8 inch-thick slices and lay one layer in a stainless-steel colander.
Sprinkle the lemon slices with plenty of salt and repeat, making more layers until you have used all the lemons and salt.
Set aside to drain for 24 hours.
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.
Completely cover the lemon slices with olive oil.
Close the jar. The lemon slices will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 6 months.
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