sexta-feira, 20 de maio de 2011

Exotic Lemon
This is the 3rd year in a row we’re lucky to enjoy the generosity of the lemon tree.
Every year we’re surprised with beautiful and juicy lemons and our biggest concern is to make good use of these gorgeous fruits!
Besides sharing with friends and family, preserving is the best alternative. The sweet version: Lemon Curd. The salty version: Lemon preserve, Moroccan style.
Here are the recipes:
Lemon curd
This recipe was given to my mother from her good friend Ana Paula and it’s very easy to make. I use it with toasted bread or to pair with cakes.
But other great idea is to use it as a filling of pre-baked sweet mini-tartlets shells to serve with coffee or tea!
6 eggs
500g caster sugar
250g unsalted butter
Juice of 3 lemons
Zest of 2 lemons
Beat the eggs and mix with the other ingredients in a stainless steel pan.
Keep a low heat in the stove and stir all the time. After a while, butter melts and the mixture gets thicker. When it reaches honey consistency, it is ready to pour into previously sterilized glass jars.
Lemon preserve - Moroccan style
It’s perfect in stews or tagine dishes. I’ve tried with roasted rabbit and it was an amazing combination, boosting with fragrant lemony flavor!
It’s very easy to prepare but requires patience hence it has to be forgotten for a few months in the pantry before use. But it pays back once you put a peace in your mouth and the strong lemony fragrance invades your palate.
Sea salt
From Rui Simeão. This family production started over 100 years ago and uses artisanal technics to produce one of the world’s best salts.
Prefer organic lemons to guarantee they’re not treated.
Glass jars with hermetic closure
It’s important to sterilize the jars to avoid any sort of contamination (I wash it in hot water and soap and dry in the oven for 20 min at 110 ºC).

Wash the lemons in hot water and cut into quarters.
Fill the jar with a layer of salt. Then start layering the lemon alternating with salt. Make sure to push down to compress the lemons and release the juice. The lemons must be submerged in juice and topped with salt.
Monitor the jars for a few days before storing thus the lemons tend to collapse and often is need to refill with more salt or lemon juice. When the lemons are tight inside the jar is time to store for, at least, 3 weeks.
Use it wisely:
The first time I tried cooking preserved lemons, was a total failure hence I used the lemons directly from the jar!  I got a salt kick that my heart almost jumped out of my body.
Only the skin is used. After rinsing the excess of salt syrup, peel the rind off to add to any recipe you choose.

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