Preserved lemons with honey

Preserved lemons with honey

By
From
Arabesque
Photographer
William Meppem

Preserving lemons in salt, Moroccan-style, adds complex spicy undertones to the sourness of the lemons. The addition of honey, cinnamon and coriander seeds gives further depth and a more rounded sweetness. This version uses a trick learned from Claudia Roden, which involves freezing the lemons first to speed up the whole maturing process. For a delightful change you can try the same recipe using limes.

Use only the rind of preserved lemons and discard the flesh. Add the finely chopped skin of 1/2 a preserved lemon to 80 g of butter and use it to stuff a chicken under the skin before roasting, or rub over skewers of tiger prawns before barbecuing. Thinly sliced, it adds a piquancy to tagines and other braises and fricassees. Use it to make a sensational preserved lemon oil for vinaigrettes and salad dressings. Or finely chop it and add to mayonnaise, hollandaise sauce or even guacamole.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1.5kg thin-skinned lemons
350g salt
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, lightly crushed
2 cinnamon sticks
2 lemon leaves or bay leaves
1/4 cup honey
1 cup lemon juice
3 cups warm water

Method

  1. Wash and dry the lemons. Cut them lengthways into quarters from the point of the lemon to three-quarters of the way down, but leaving them joined together at base. Place them in a plastic bag in the freezer for 24 hours.
  2. Remove the lemons from the freezer and allow them to defrost. Stuff the centre of each lemon with a heaped teaspoon of salt. Arrange them neatly in a 2 litre jar, sprinkling each layer of lemons with salt and crushed coriander seeds.
  3. Place the sticks of cinnamon down the sides of the jar along with the lemon leaves or bay leaves. Mix together the honey and lemon juice with the warm water until the honey dissolves. Pour into the jar, covering the lemons entirely, and screw the lid on tightly. Place a piece of cardboard on the bottom of a large pot and sit the jar on top. This stops it vibrating. Add warm water to cover the jar completely and slowly bring it to the boil. Boil for 6 minutes then remove from heat. Gently lift the jar from the pot.
  4. Store in a dry cool place a month before opening. Once opened, keep refrigerated. If the lemons are not frozen first, the maturation process will take at least 3 months.
Tags:
Middle East
Middle Eastern
Arabic
Arabian
Arabesque
Greg
Lucy
Malouf
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