|Hand Milled Bowl, by Andrew Cox|
And, since we're on February vacation (although we didn't go anywhere because we're broke because I spend all our money on food...) I had some extra time...Hence, these beautiful preserved lemons, which won't be ready for 3 weeks, just about the time I reach Morocco. I can't wait! I know, I need help.
Lest you think you'll never make these because you'll never make a tagine, preserved lemons can be used to give all kinds of food a mellow citrus flavor you'd be hard pressed to get any other way. After a couple of weeks in the brine and spices, the lemons develop a silky texture and rich flavor. To use, discard the flesh and pith and then add the rind to couscous, stuffing, risotto, pasta, sauces or vinaigrettes.
Moroccan Preserved Lemons (Adapted from Whole Foods)
1 cup Kosher salt (this is approximate - I used about 1/2 cup in total)
1 tsp. whole cloves
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1 tsp. coriander
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 cup lemon juice
Wash a 1 quart jar in hot soap water, rinse and dry well. Place three tablespoons of salt in each jar. Slice off the top and tip of each of the lemons. Cut each lemon into quarters, but don't cut all the way through the lemon. Make sure the lemon is still attached at the bottom. Open the lemon and sprinkle the inside and outside generously with salt. Place the lemons in the jar, packing them tightly to squeeze out any juice. Sprinkle spices over each layer of lemons. Add more lemon juice so the lemons are completely covered and the jar is filled with juice. Add four tablespoons of salt to the jar. Seal the jar and shake to mix well.
Store in a cool, dark place, turning the jar upside down every couple of days for 1 week. Refrigerate lemons and let them sit for about 2 more weeks, turning every couple of days.
To use a lemon in a recipe, remove a whole lemon from the jar, rinse off any salt and remove the pulp and any seeds. Slice the softened lemon peel and it's ready to use.