Little lemon lesson

A few days after starting the long preserved lemon process I described a few weeks back, I spotted a large jar of preserved lemons on the countertop of the rather lovely Edward Levesque’s Kitchen in Toronto’s Leslieville. Except that instead of slicing into the lemons, packing the center with salt and cramming them into jars, the restaurant had just quartered them, which means they could fit many more lemons into the jar, and also that they didn’t have to worry about getting the damn things out of the jar at the end. I mean have you ever tried to get a somewhat slippery lemon through the neck of a somewhat too small jar without breaking the jar, losing your temper or spilling the precious salted-spiced lemon juice all over the kitchen? So next time I am going to quarter the lemons, sprinkle the salt over the cut sections and try things that way.

Meantimes, I need to find more ways of using the lemons that are now crying out to be eaten, specially as I’m really not into cooking meat right now. (The last time I made a jar of preserved lemons they almost all got used with chicken and dates, a made-up quasi Moroccan recipe that worked surprisingly well.) The first outing for lemons from the current batch was in a potato yogurt salad, where the lemons curdled the yogurt, to create clumps of paneer-like yogurt that looked gross but tasted delicious. The next attempt will be with the leftover tomato sauce from tonight, which already had some vaguely middle eastern spice mix in it, so the theme is right.

And after that I’m going to add some to an souped up version of the seriously delicious sweet potato salad that biking friend and I made over the weekend.

Sweet potato salad with cumin and ginger

*Fry a couple of finely chopped onions in a generous portion of olive oil with a pinch of saffron and a (chopped up)  large chunk of fresh ginger until the onions are translucent and soft.

*Add a pound or so of chopped sweet potatoes, a teaspoon of ground ginger, a couple of teaspoons of paprika, a teaspoon of ground cumin and the juice of a lemon.

*Half cover with water, cover pot and bring to the boil, cooking until the potatoes are soft. (They actually retain a little crunchiness on the edges and are meltingly soft in the center.)

*Add salt to taste, switch off the heat, leave the lid half off and allow to cool.

*Serve warm, or at room temperature. (We added Moroccan spice mix as well. You can’t have too much of it)

Now the question:

Do I substitute a chopped preserved lemon for the lemon juice (and the salt) in this recipe, or do I just add the peel as well as all the other ingredients?


1 Comment »

  1. You might want to try wide-neck jars to make it easier to get the lemons out. I’m not sure how small those go, though.
    And you forgot one ingredient in the recipe: the ground cumin. That, not ginger, gets added with the sweet potatoes. And it was 1 1/2 lemons for every 1 3/4 pounds of sweet potatoes. I know the lemons overpowered the ginger (more ginger!) but I thought that’s what made it so unusual.
    Of course, all the leftovers have been eaten. On my list to do again.

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