Preserved lemons (salted lemons) are a much-loved condiment in Moroccan and other North African cuisines. It is more common to use the rind rather than the flesh, although both rind and flesh can be added to stews or long-cooking dishes. Use clean tongs to remove pieces of preserved lemon from the jar, rather than your fingers (to prevent introducing bugs). Rinse away the salty brine and pat dry, dislodging and discarding the flesh if it’s not called for. Slice, chop or blend and away you go …
Use in dishes to give a citrus boost or a citrusy salty-pickle hit. Preserved lemon is especially good in bland dishes like couscous, and salads made with lentils, barley, burghul and the like. Add to tabbouleh, to shellfish sauces for pasta, and to risottos. To finish off fried fish, pan-fry floured fish fillets in butter, transfer to a plate add a little more butter to pan, then add sliced preserved lemon and cook until the butter turns brown. Pour over fish and serve. Gorgeous.
A little chopped preserved lemon added to vinaigrettes, creamy lemon dressings and yoghurt or feta dressings gives a fresh lemony zip. And a few slivers mixed in with stuffings and meatball mixtures, or added to a spicy tomato sauce, adds a fresh pop of flavour.
Preserved lemons will keep a year or two but once they’re opened, I transfer them to the fridge because as the level of lemons in the jar drops, some of them can be left exposed to the air and cause problems. Covering the surface with olive oil is another option to prevent contamination.
Recipes using preserved lemons