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Nov 6, 2000 01:57 AM

Preserved lemons and what to do with them

  • b

I'm stymied. A good friend just returned from California with a huge, and I do mean HUGE, jar of preserved lemons as a gift, since she knows I love to cook. But this I never cooked with.
So far I'm thinking a little would be nice in a vinagrette or a homemade remoulade for cooked shellfish but that's all I've come up with so far. I've stupidly promised her dinner next weekend and if I don't use these, she'll be hurt.
They're also quite salty - do you rinse, soak?

Any ideas fellow hounds? It would be most appreciated.

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  1. p
    Pat Goldberg

    An excellent source of recipes is Paul Wolfert's "Couscous and other good food from Morrocco."
    She also has a website, but doesn't seem to feature any preserved lemon recipes. However, below is a link to a chicken tagine which is a somewhat blander variant of one of her recipes. I have never tried it, but I have made the one in Wolfert's cookbook, with excellent results.


    5 Replies
    1. re: Pat Goldberg
      Josh Mittleman

      I second the recommendation for Wolfert's cookbook.

      The normal way to use preserved lemon is to rinse it, separate the peel from the meat and throw away the meat (strange, but true). Mince the peel and add it to a stew.

      1. re: Josh Mittleman

        They are super with chicken -- stewed with, baked inside, or chopped and sprinkled on top. Also you can mince and toss with roasted peppers and/or broccoli. Or broccoli rabe. I have made a very successful stuffed pepper dish with a filling of cooked chicken, blanched broccoli, an egg, and minced preserved lemon peel. I bet a paste of preserved lemon peel and black olives would be divine, maybe pureed with walnuts or pine nuts.

        I believe there is a recipe for or using preserved lemons in Lord Krishna's Cooking: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Yamuna Davi(d?).

        I, too, throw out the flesh. But on further thought, you could use it to make a variation on Vietnamese salty lemon soda -- squeeze into a glass and add Sprite or tonic water.

        1. re: Josh Mittleman

          could you use the shells of the lemons after they've been squeezed for lemonade (not hand squeezing but using some sort of machine squeeze) We make freshw lemon juice for housemade lemonade and always throw out the shell - maybe I'll have the crew try to make preserved lemons - A thought is that the squeezing may take some of the essential oils out...

          1. re: Lisa

            Sounds like they need to be made with the whole lemon. Then throw out the "meat" sorry...

            1. re: Lisa

              Hi, Lisa! I've always seen preserved lemons made with the meat, but since you always throw the meat out and use only the skin, you could certainly try doing it with squeezed lemons. You'd be missing the acidity from the juice, but would still get something delicious. When I don't have preserved lemons in the house but want to approximate the flavor, I've substituted fresh lemon zest crushed with salt.

      2. The way I use 'em is diced — flesh and peel — and sprinkled over grilled fish or lamb. They seem to fit anywhere that a squirt of lemon juice would, assuming the fact that they're solid, not liquid, doesn't get in the way.