Preserved Lemons – Just what your pantry needs!
Chef Dakota Soifer has shared with us some of his favorite recipes. See what special ingredient he always has on hand at his restaurant, Cafe Aion!
We love preserved lemons at Cafe Aion. It is one of the most important ingredients that help make our identity. The only tricky thing about them is that they take a long time (4-60 days) to properly cure. We usually make a 20lb batches every couple weeks! For (most) home use a small amount will go a long way and if you get into the habit of making a batch every month or so, you won’t run the risk of being out.
1 1/2c salt
1T coriander seeds
1 cinnamon stick
3 chili de arbol
1 Qt Ball jar
Mix all the salt, sugar and spices together. Cut the lemons almost into quarters, top to bottom, so that the four pieces are just connected at the tip. Stuff each lemon with a big pinch of the salt mix and then put into the clean jar. After jamming all the lemons into the container pour any extra salt & seasonings in as well. Then, with your hand or a wooden spoon press the lemons to begin releasing some of their juice. Screw the top on and keep in a cool dark place for 2 months, turning the jar over every week or so. Eventually the salt will pull out more and more of the lemon’s natural juices turning the packed salt into an intense brine, softening the lemons’ skins & introducing some of the spice’s flavors. After 2 months, or as long as you can wait, take a lemon out, rinse it under cold water & discard the pulp. Pull one of the quarters off and lay it skin side down. With a sharp paring knife slice away as much of the white pith as you can. The yellow peel is the good stuff, use it as bigger pieces in braises and roasts or chop it finely and sprinkle into grain-salads or atop a paella!