Herbed Lemon Confit
Preserved lemons can spike up the flavor of any dish, particularly something rich that needs the cut-through-the-fat talents only an acidic ingredient can bring. This method, which I based on a recipe in Tom Colicchio’s ’wichcraft (Clarkson Potter, 2009), drastically reduces the amount of time it takes to preserve lemons by slicing them first, allowing the salt/sugar mixture to penetrate that much more quickly. And that’s a good thing, because you won’t want to wait too long for these. They need 3 days of curing time, but they will keep in an airtight container in your refrigerator for a month. Use them in Roast Chicken Leg with Gremolata and Sunchokes or anywhere else you want a sharp hit of salty lemon.
Total Timea day or more
Make Ahead RecipeYes
Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian
Taste and Textureherby, tart
Type of DishCondiments
- 3 lemons
- 1 large shallot lobe, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- Leaves from 1 large sprig rosemary, finely chopped
- Leaves from 1 sprig thyme
- 6 black peppercorns, crushed
- 3 tablespoons coarse kosher or sea salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat, then plunge the lemons into the water for about 30 seconds or so, to soften any wax on the fruit. Drain, rinse, wipe the lemons clean, and dry them. Cut the lemons into very thin slices, discarding the ends and any seeds.
Combine the shallot, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and peppercorns in a small bowl. Combine the salt and sugar in a separate small bowl.
Arrange a layer of lemon slices in the bottom of a medium container with a lid, being sure not to overlap the slices. Sprinkle the lemons first with a little of the shallot-garlic mixture, then with some of the salt-sugar mixture. Repeat to use all the slices, layering them in several stacks and sprinkling them alternately with the two mixtures until the final lemon slices are topped with the last of the shallot-garlic and salt-sugar mixtures. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 3 days, but after a day or so, turn over the container so all the slices can cure evenly.
Drain the lemons in a strainer for about 15 minutes. Have ready a clean 1-quart container with a tight-fitting lid.
Pack the drained lemons tightly in the container, then fill with the oil, making sure the lemons are completely covered. The confit can be used immediately or refrigerated for up to 1 month.
2011 Joe Yonan