Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Preserved Meyer Lemons

Making Up For Lost Time:
Preserved Meyer Lemons
Smokey Preserved Meyer Lemon Dressing

Meyer lemons, washed, scrubbed and ready for preserving.
Oh preserved lemons, where have you been all my life? I'd heard whispers of your existence, seen references to you in cookbooks and glossy food magazines, but never did I think it would be so easy to make you for myself . Yet here you are, after very little work on my part, in my fridge, waiting for me to add you into dishes and dressings whenever my little heart desires. You're the most glorious pickled food I've ever eaten. If only I had known sooner,
we could have had so much more time together .
Oh well, ever forward.

While most preserved lemon recipes call for traditional lemons, I decided to use the gorgeous Meyer lemons found at the grocery store this weekend. They're a bit pricier and a bit harder to come by, but every bit worth it. Meyers are almost indescribably wonderful. A cross between a traditional lemon and a mandarin orange, they have a sweeter nearly floral taste and are more vibrantly colored with a thinner skin than regular lemons. If you see them, stock up; they are only in season for a brief window, usually from December through April. I tend to hoard them whenever they're available, freezing the juice, candying the peels, drying the zest,
and of course, making preserved lemons.

Now you can add herbs to your lemons; a bay leaf, cinnamon stick, coriander, etc.,
or choose to leave your lemons relatively naked, adding only salt.
I go the naked route, having found that adding spices can muddle the
complex flavor of the lemon itself.

So here it is, my 
Preserved Meyer Lemons Recipe
Meyer lemons, quartered with ends attached, topped with kosher salt.

You will need:
Sterilized 1qt jar with tightly fitting lid
8 -10 meyer lemons
1/2- 3/4c coarse kosher salt

Thoroughly wash your lemons then slice off each blossom end .
Cut each lemon into quarters, leaving attached at the base.

Open each lemon and sprinkle about 1 tbsp of salt over both the inside and skins.
Line the bottom of your jar with 1/4' of kosher salt .
Pack the salted lemons into the jar, squishing them down with your hand
until the juice rises up enough to cover them.
Jarred salted meyers, ready to top with lemon juice.
If there is not enough juice to cover add some extra.
Sprinkle a Tbsp of salt over the top and tightly seal the jar.
Leave out at room temperature for 2-3 days.
Transfer jar to refrigerator and allow to sit for another 3-4 weeks.
You can turn the jar upside down on occasion to distribute the liquid more evenly.
Once the rinds have softened your preserved lemons are ready to use.
These will keep in the fridge for at least a year.

To use your preserved lemons:
Remove a segment from the jar, rinse under cold water to remove excess salt, remove flesh from the peel,
then chop or mince as much of the peel as your recipe calls for.
Any unused portion of the whole lemon can
be returned the the jar.

Simple Smokey Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette
1/2c olive oil
1/4c apple cider vinegar
1tbsp finely minced preserved lemon rind
1 tsp finely minced garlic
1 tsp smoked salt (you can use a regular sea salt instead,
but the smoky flavor is amazing, so seek out smoked salt if you can)
pepper to taste

In a medium bowl whisk vinegar, garlic, and minced preserved lemon rind, and salt together.
Slowly add in olive oil, whisking until thickened.
Add pepper to taste, whisking to incorporate.

This is a perfect green salad dressing but also rocks the house over any fresh
chopped veggie/bean/grain salad you can think of.
Jarred preserved lemons, ready for adding to any recipe your little heart desires. 

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