Preserved lemons, like fish sauce, anchovies, capers, fresh horseradish—even dried limes
—are one of those versatile ingredients that can be a home cook's ace in the hole in innumerable ways. Though they're primarily known for their use in Moroccan tagines, you can use the rind and/or pulp in soups, stews, and anything sauteed. Lately, when I'm roasting cauliflower, which is a lot, I've been using an umami trifecta of capers, fish sauce
, and preserved lemons.
They're pretty easy to make. Paul Virant has a recipe in his Preservation Kitchen (due out in early April), but it takes anywhere from one to four months before they're ready. What do you do when you run out? Simply head for you nearest Middle Eastern grocery and pick up a jar. These golfball-size Alomda pickled lemons with saffron are $2.99 for a 32-ounce jar at Sahar Meat Market.
Sahar Meat Market, 4829 N. Kedzie, 773-583-6098