Monday, November 8, 2010

My Latest Obsession

You know what that means.  Ingredient overload.  Fortunately for you guys, I used up all of those hazelnuts (sorry, Henry), so you don’t have to hear about them again for awhile. Unless, of course, you want my recipe for mushroom, artichoke and hazelnut salad.

For now though, I’m focused on preserved lemons.

Have you ever had preserved lemon? Not out of hand (who would do that anyway), but in a dish such as a Moroccan tagine? It adds a big “wow” factor and a lovely depth of flavor. The best way I can describe it is intense lemon flavor multiplied by the power of ten.

I recently made them to use in a chicken and olive tagine, which is a pretty classic combination. The dish was delicious, but I ended up with more preserved lemons that I knew what to do with. Now what?

What” turned out to be using them in a roasted zucchini dish. I made a big batch of the stuff the other night and served it with grilled bison burgers (c’mon, it was a weeknight and I was slopping the hogs). The good news is that I had enough left over to eat for breakfast the next two days. (I know, I have weird breakfast preferences, but we’ve already discussed that, so let’s not go there again!)

The next “What” was stirring them into couscous, along with some scallions, toasted pine nuts and chopped Italian parsley. I served this with cedar-planked King salmon and ka-ching! Another winner.

Oh, but I’m not done. I haven’t told you about the shrimp and rice yet, possibly the most delicious dish of all.

See, I told you I was obsessed!  "What?"

PRESERVED LEMONS  (from Gail Arnold and Ina Garten)

3 lemons
2 tablespoons kosher salt

Preheat oven to 250-degrees.

Wash lemons and cut in half lengthwise then cut each half lengthwise into thirds.  Place in one layer in a large baking dish (I used a 13 x 9 x 2-inch Pyrex) and sprinkle with the salt.  Add enough water to cover and bake for 3 hours.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.  Place lemons in a wide-mouth quart glass canning jar and pour in enough of the liquid to cover.  Screw lid on top and refrigerate.

These can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

Yield:  18 wedges


4 to 5 medium zucchini
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup pitted and chopped Kalamata olives
1 wedge preserved lemon, rinsed and chopped (including rind)

Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Place a roasting pan in oven to preheat.

Slice zucchini in half lengthwise then cut across into thirds. Place in a bowl and toss with the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic, shallots, parsley and oregano. Season well with salt and pepper.

Remove the hot roasting pan from the oven and add the zucchini mixture, spreading it out in one layer. Return to oven and roast for 5 minutes. Stir in the Kalamata olives and roast for an additional 4 to 5 minutes or zucchini is just tender. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 – 6 servings

PINE NUT AND PRESERVED LEMON COUSCOUS  (adapted from Emeril Lagasse)

2 cups couscous
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 cup chopped scallions
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 wedge preserved lemon, rinsed and chopped (including rind)
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

Place couscous in a wide bowl or shallow pan. Bring stock to a simmer and pour over the couscous. Cover and let sit until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter (or heat oil) in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add scallions and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 1 minute, then add to couscous along with pine nuts, preserved lemon and chopped parsley. Use a fork to fluff well and blend all ingredients. Taste to adjust seasonings.

Yield: 4 – 6 servings


3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon saffron threads
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup brown rice
2 ½ cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
½ cup chopped and pitted green olives
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 wedge preserved lemon, rinsed and chopped (including rind)
Chopped Italian parsley, for garnish

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes or until soft. Add garlic and saffron threads and cook for 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper, then add rice and sauté, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Add the stock, cover the pot and lower heat to simmer. Cook for about 45 minutes, or until rice is tender.

Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a sauté pan. Add tomatoes and cayenne pepper and cook for 5 minutes until liquid reduces slightly. Add the olives, shrimp and preserved lemon. Cook over medium heat until shrimp turns pink and starts to curl slightly, 3 to 5 minutes. Do not overcook. Season with salt and pepper.

Add rice mixture to shrimp in sauté pan and stir to blend. Taste to adjust seasonings. Turn into serving bowls and garnish with the chopped parsley.

Yield: 6 – 8 servings

• You can make this with white rice, if desired (although I like brown rice better for its texture and healthier qualities). If using white rice, decrease cooking time to 20-25 minutes.
• This recipe is somewhat “paella-like.” To make it more so, you could add chunks of cooked sausage and/or chicken.
• And yes, saffron is expensive. If you can’t bring yourself to buy it, you can substitute  turmeric (poor man's saffron). A little smoked paprika or pimenton would be good in this dish also.

Whew!  I'm done now.  Enough recipes for now?

1 comment:

  1. Nice, they all sound great and the preserved lemons is fairly easy to prepare. I may have to give it a try soon.