preserved lemons

 Today the rain started.

I think it may now officially be winter here in San Sebastián. My feet are cold, my boots are wet, and it's dark until 8:30 am.

This is the unglamorous side of this picturesque, edible town.

Meanwhile, I'm reaping the benefits of my mad return to my humble Gros kitchen this fall. I preserved guindillas, tomato, and fruits...made ricotta and basil-watermelon shrub (coming soon!). I also made this lovely lemons. After a month in the fridge, they are ready to scrape clean, dice and throw in ANYTHING. From couscous to cócteles, there are few things that aren't better with a little preserved lemon. This particular recipe has a nice eastern touch.

Make. Trust.

preserved spiced lemons

  • 10 lemons
  • 1/2 cup coarse salt
  • cinnamon stick
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 2 chiles de arbol
  • 2 bay leaves

Cut off the little rounded bit at the stem end if there’s a hard little piece of the stem attached. Cut an X shape starting at the end of the lemon.
Pack coarse salt into the lemon where you made the incisions. Use a large spoonful for each lemon...don't be shy. Put the saltedlemons in a large glass jar with a lid. Add cardamom, a bay leaf, a dried chili, and a cinnamon stick.
Press the lemons very firmly in the jar to get the juices flowing. Cover and let stand overnight.
The next day do the same, pressing the lemons down, encouraging them to release more juice as they start to soften. Repeat for a 2-3 days until the lemons are completely covered with liquid. If your lemons aren’t juicy enough, add some fresh squeezed lemon juice.
When the preserved lemons are soft, they’re ready to use (about a month). Store the lemons in the refrigerator, where they’ll keep for at least 6 months. To use, rinse before using to remove excess salt, split, and scrape out the pulp. Slice or dice. You can also use the juice of the pulp.

If I remember correctly, this recipe is a takeoff on the one here.