I once visited Da Paolino a restaurant in Capri, an island in Italy, where you sit under lemon trees and each dish is made with fresh lemon juice, and they serve the best limoncello in Italy! My recipe for today is entirely different we travel further south to Morocco and the lemons are preserved by a fair amount of salt, that will keep them for up to a year fresh and yummy. Get hooked with me on :
When I open my window I can hear a trillion birds singing and I have finally put away my coats and boots. If it gets cold I will ignore it and by reading tons of Moroccan recipes,this weekend I decided that the most important ingredient of a summer full of oriental bliss and spices I will make those fermented lemons, almost no recipe can do without! I read that they need at least one month to become what they should and then can be used up to one year. So next thing we should do is run to the market and get a huge bag of organic lemons.
You and I will most likely never be able to live without them and if it is lamb, chicken or couscous , salad or vegetables, we will add a bit of those lemons to it, even the juice can be used!
Until yesterday thought one cannot buy Moroccan lemons in Vienna, when after an absolulty inspiring dinner at the Steirereck we chatted with Heinz Reitbauer and I told him about my new found love to this recipe he said: we make them here and you can even buy them in our shop! Heinz makes them with in Vienna grown lemons from the Orangerie in Schönbrunn! Then he gave me this jar to proof! How cool is that? Not only is Heinz an expert in almost everything that can be eaten, he stunned his colleagues once at a convention in Spain of all places, with his so well received dried lemons and oranges he serves at the Steirereck from a beautiful cart rolled to your table at the end of a meal. That said even if you can buy them it is so easy and fun to make your own and invest those 10 minutes per jar and live off a delight and fullness of flavor crossing bridges and traveling continents on your plate and with your guests.
Most important is a large enough empty jar with a tight lid, as well as smaller ones to give away as presents, rinsed once with boiling water to disinfect and then you are good to go!
2 kilograms organic lemons, ripe, bright yellow skin
2/3 cup sea salt, can be more
juice from 4 lemons
Soak the lemons in cold water , rinse them and dry them with a paper towel. Cut off that end, where the lemon once grew on the tree, and make a cross cut through the lemon so the fruit will not be separated but can be opened up like a 4-petal flower. Open the lemon with one hand and season with one teaspoon of salt. Do that with all of the prepared lemons. Then place them one by one in the jar, add 1/2 a teaspoon of salt after each layer. Press them hard into the jar so the lemons give some juice off. Finish under the brim, share the lemon juice evenly among your jars and after the last spoonful of salt add the hot water!
Now you can experiment with additional flavors such as a bay leaf or seeds; I am a purist so I made mine without additions. Close the lid and give them lots of time in a dark place at room temperature. You can turn the jar upside down every three days but I suspect if you forget it won't ruin your efforts! After one month you can open up your first jar of preserved lemons and use them for your recipes. The opened jar keeps in the fridge for up to one month.
You should be smelling this !!!! This is unbelievably breathtaking, an explosions of lemon fragrance !!! WOW I AM ADDICTED! What a flavor ! Cant wait to use this ! This is the preserved lemon by Steirereck ! Just awesome!
Don't pour away the lemon water, it is full of delicious taste and can be used on salads and in soups or any kind of marinade. It is absolutely fine when it becomes jelly-like!
The peel is used and the flesh discarded, not like usual, just the opposite! Sliced thinly or chopped to small pieces. Heinz recommended to use the entire fruit, here you go! Please give it a try and tell me how you did!