Since lemon growers coat the fruit in wax to keep them from drying out, it’s essential to scrub or plunge the lemons into boiling water for 20 seconds to remove the wax beforehand. Cleaned, quartered lemons are then layered in a quart-size jar with a salt and sugar mixture and refrigerated for at least two weeks before being enjoyed.
The confit will last several months in the refrigerator, turning the peel into concentrated, tender, lemony pieces. Since the citrus isn’t submerged in a liquid providing a barrier against harmful bacteria, it shouldn’t be left at room temperature. Pantry storage requires proper canning techniques.
Before using, rinses the cured lemons well and removes the peel for dishes. You blends minced lemon peel confit with softened butter before broiling fish and serves more with the plated dish. If you don’t have two weeks to wait, jarred Moroccan preserved lemons can be used in a pinch.
Alternatively, lemon confit can be made quicker in the oven with olive oil and spices. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and place thinly sliced lemons with salt, black peppercorns, fresh rosemary, shallots, garlic, and brown sugar (or balsamic vinegar) in a casserole pan for two hours. Once cooled, the confit can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Recipes to use lemon confit
Homemade lemon confit can be adapted for savory or sweet dishes, making it easy to elevate most dishes, even a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Garnish a scoop (or two) with fresh basil leaves for an earthy element, crushed biscotti for a welcome crunch, and diced lemon confit to brighten the dish.
Traditionally served with Moroccan tagines, diced preserved lemons are delicious in a stew of chicken thighs, onions, garlic, dried apricots, and black olives seasoned with coriander and ras el hanout. Serve tagines over cous cous to absorb the flavorful sauce, and garnish the plate with slivered almonds and more lemon confit.
After charring on the grill, grilled veggies like broccoli and asparagus benefit from citrus, as does meat like pork and the countless grilled chicken breasts we make when the weather is warm.
A pound of spaghetti or bucatini is instantly transformed when tossed with minced lemon confit, freshly chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley, and topped with homemade breadcrumbs. Add some butter or olive oil and thicken the pasta with its cooking water to pull together a silky sauce in under 20 minutes that’s finished with a generous shaving of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.