Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Farmers Market Bounty and Preserved Lemons

Here's this week's produce bounty from out tiny farmers' market - all organic this week:

  • Fresh English peas (so sweet!)

  • Red spring onions

  • cauliflower

  • artichoke

  • strawberries (some missing!)

  • baby spinach

  • fava beans

  • You may remember last week I got all those organic lemons - here they are again:

    Those are preserved lemons, traditionally used in North African cooking. Sam at Becks and Posh recently posted a Preserved Meyer Lemons recipe which I almost followed here (I just left out the cinnamon stick and peppercorns and doubled the coriander). Basically, they're cut lemons with large amounts of salt rubbed in, that are left to cure for 30 days. They are awfully easy to prepare. My biggest challenge was figuring out how I should sterilize my mason jar. Everywhere I looked, there were instructions to use a boiling water canner (which I don't have, never having canned ). I ended up boiling the jar and lid in water in my soup pot for 25 minutes. Hopefully, that did the trick.

    So what do you do with the lemons once they're preserved?
    It's actually the chopped peel that is used according to Claudia Roden, who includes a recipe in her book Invitation to Mediterranean Cooking and uses it to garnish a Spicy Carrot Puree. Deborah Madison suggests using them in salads and tangines. Her recipe in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone states you should store the lemons in a cool dark place or in the fridge while they cure (most I've seen say at room temperature - comments?).
    To my knowledge, I've never had a dish with preserved lemons so I look forward to tasting and experimenting with these in June.

    Here's a few recipes I've found so far that look good to me:

  • Fettuccine with Preserved Lemon and Roasted Garlic at Apartment Therapy:Kitchen.

  • Artichoke & Ricotta Dumplings with Preserved Lemon Sauce at Food & Wine

  • Artichoke & Broad Bean Salad with Preserved Lemon at the BBC.

    If you have a winning vegetarian recipe using preserved lemons, tell us about it in the comments! Cheers!

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    Blogger Cate said...

    I can't wait till our farmers markets start ... a few more weeks...

    8:50 PM  
    Blogger fooDcrazEE said...

    cant wait till u cook using the lemon.

    10:30 PM  
    Blogger Dianne said...

    Just a thought! Preserved lemons are often an ingredient in Tagine's, the Morroccan stew eaten with couscous. I didnt realise it was so easy to preserve lemons ... I might have a go at it myself

    Thanks for the info and the link to the original post

    12:49 AM  
    Blogger Alanna said...

    That's some "little" farmers market ...

    6:22 AM  
    Blogger Catherine said...

    Hi Cate - I'm very fortunate that our market is year round. Can't wait to hear about yours!

    Hi Foodcrazee - me too! A month seems like a long wait.

    Dianne - yes, definitely used in tangines. They really are easy to do yourself - give it a try!

    Hi Alanna - there's only 4 or 5 people selling fresh produce at our market. There are others selling breads, eastern and Indian food, flowers, kettle corn. I call it tiny because we have several in the area that are really huge and attract thousands.

    9:38 AM  

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