This is an instant version of preserved lemons I discovered in Anna Hansen’s The Modern Pantry cookbook and it’s a brilliant way of getting that potent, salty burst of citrus into dishes when you haven’t homemade preserved lemons to hand or you don’t want to shell out for the generally substandard and ridiculously expensive bought variety. And actually, I find this version brighter and more versatile – the juice is salty, but not overly so, and has an intense, citrusy flavour which makes it ideal in dressings or just drizzled over some fish or chicken to brighten it up.
- 4 lemons (or any other type of citrus, see Note)
- 1 tsp sea salt
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Pare the zest from the lemons in large slices, preferably with a swivel peeler, then trim off any excess white pith. Put in a small saucepan, squeeze the pared lemons and add the juice to the pan along with the sea salt. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for around 10 minutes or until the zest is tender.
Allow to cool and keep in a sterilized jar in the refrigerator until needed. It will keep for months (see Note), but can be used immediately.
• I have made this with Seville oranges, blood oranges, mandarins (tricky because of the thin mandarin skin but do-able; just accept that you need to scrape pith from the inside, rather than pare zest from the outside), limes and grapefruit. All wonderful.
• Citrus preserved this way will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator, but will gradually lose its vibrancy of colour. To preserve it for longer, you can freeze it.
Recipe from Citrus by Catherine Phipps, photography by Mowie Kay (Quadrille, hb, $39.99). Read Catherine's guide to savoury citrus preserves here.