This is a Nigella Lawson recipe that I absolutely recommend! Preserved lemons are great to always have on hand. Unlike fresh lemons, preserved lemons offer a unique lemon flavour without a huge amount of acidity.
Typically preserved lemons take up to three weeks to ‘pickle’ in their own juices and salt. Nigella’s recipe - which requires you to blanch the lemons and cook them in a briney solution - is a fantastic alternative as you can prepare them a day before use rather than a month.
What I also find great about this recipe is the different flavours that come out of the lemons. Rather than traditional preserved lemons that heighten the ‘tang’ of a lemon, without the acidity; this recipe provides the fruitfulness that lemons can have.
When using preserved lemons in cooking make sure you only use the rind, as the inside will just taste salty and a little bitter.
8 unwaxed lemons
500g caster sugar
200g Maldon salt
1 litre water
Cut each lemon into quartes, removing any pits and white pith. Cook in boiling water for 5 minutes and drain. Place the lemon quartes in a bowl of cold water and leave to soak for 1 hour.
Meanwhile mix the sugar, salt and the measure water in a saucepan and put on the heat to dissolve. Drain the lemon quartes and add to the pan. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat and let simmer for 20 minutes, or until the skins are tender.
Remove the lemons and place in a sterilised jam jar, or any well sealable jar. Reduce the syrup until for up to 5 minutes, or syrupy, and pour over the lemons in the jar.
The lemons will be ready to use the following day, but can be kept in the fridge ready at hand.