What To Do With Preserved Lemons

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Things have been tough lately.

No, not because The Hubs was away on THREE back-to-back week-long business trips.

No, not because Baby M is up all night stealing my sleep.

And no, not because my nearly-four-year-old has discovered how fun it is to test my patience.

So what’s so hard? Well, see, there’s this jar of preserved lemons on my counter.

Every time I walk through the kitchen my mouth waters as I imagine amazing things to do with them. But darnnit, they’re just not yet ready. All that drooling and dreaming is tough I tell yah. I’m obsessed and there’s nothing I can do but wait.

I guess since I’m just sitting around waiting anyhow, I can spend some time telling you my plans for these tangy tart bites of saltiness.

We all know that preserved lemons go well in Moroccan-inspired tagines (slow braised stew-type dishes).

I’ve also had a great success putting tiny bits of them in salads, especially if feta cheese is involved. The lemons and the feta both have that briny salt flavor but the lemons bring tang and the feta brings creaminess. So good. A bit of the lemon brine can even be used in a salad dressing but beware, it IS salty.

With my current jar I want to try some simple quick preparations where they’ll turn basic dishes into a works of art (or into weird lemony disasters. It could go either way. I’m just sayin’.).

I’m planning to experiment by putting bits of chopped up preserved lemon in places that usually feature other pickled elements (especially pickles/olives/capers) and also in dishes that work well with bright citrus flavors.

My Preserved Lemon Plans:

  • Chopped preserved lemon with mayonnaise, salt, pepper and maybe some chopped capers as a tartar sauce for breaded fish.
  • Yogurt with minced preserved lemon, cucumber, garlic, salt and pepper to use as a tzatziki for a chicken souvlaki pita dinner.
  • Sour cream, preserved lemon, and cilantro: Tex-Mex will never be the same again.
  • Oh wait! Back to Greek! Chopped preserved lemon mixed with ground lamb, loads of garlic and rosemary turned into patties for the BBQ. All they’ll need is a softly toasted bun, some crumbled feta and the pepper of a few arugula leaves to become pretty special burgers (this would also work as the base for Greek meatballs).
  • A bagel, cream cheese, smoked salmon, red onion and little slivers of preserved lemon. Actually, blending those ingredients together (minus the bagel) would be a fantastic smoked salmon dip for pita chips or a spread for canapés.
  • Preserved lemon would be wonderful served as an accompaniment to my shrimp dish instead of or in addition to the capers.
  • The juice from the pulp of the lemons would zing up a salad dressing. It would probably work squeezed into a sauce just before serving for a bit of tang and salt.
  • Bulgur, parsley, red onion, olive oil, salt, pepper and preserved lemon. Revolutionary tabouleh.
  • Asparagus, olive oil, salt and pepper in a hot oven until the veg is bright green. Toss with a few thin slices of preserved lemon and a couple of cloves of chopped garlic for a final two-ish minutes of roasting. This might work with broccoli or green beans as well.
  • Finally, a classic gin martini with a nice slice of preserved lemon in place of the olive.

So what do you think? Will I actually get around to trying any of this stuff?

Never fear! The Hubs has another business trip soon. I guarantee that at least one of these ideas will be tested at the end of an endless day. Can you guess which one?

What are your ideas for preserved lemons? Have you ever tried anything a bit different with them and had success?


4 Responses to “What To Do With Preserved Lemons”

  1. DeAnne Pearson, Career Coach — December 25, 2012 @ 3:26 pm (#)

    Thanks for the ideas……Love the “works of art or weird lemony disasters….” comment…..Just received my first jar and can’t wait to try some of your yummy ideas. dp

    • Christine Pittman — December 25, 2012 @ 7:45 pm (#)

      Enjoy them! I still like them best sliced thinly in salads or braised in stew or tagines. And a word of caution: I find that if I put them in anything that has sweetness to it, it can sometimes be a bit weird (like dessert-like when that’s not at all what you’re going for. So, for instance, in things like tzatziki if using yogurt which is tart but has that touch of sweetness, tread lightly. But when you get the amount right for the sweetness of your yogurt, it’s pretty amazing. Let me know what you end up doing with them. I always have a jar on hand and would love to hear your ideas.

  2. Christine — February 23, 2012 @ 9:07 am (#)

    Great idea! I bet preserved lemons would work anywhere that Tamarind does. Can’t wait to try it.

  3. Christine — February 22, 2012 @ 7:01 pm (#)

    You can try to add some in the Filipino dish “Sinigan” to replace Tamarind.

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