Tuesday, March 5, 2013

My New Secret Ingredient - Preserved Lemons

There are so many wonderful foods that owe their extra punch to fermentation; coffee, cheese, bread, real pickles, wine and beer, yogurt.
I never thought much about this until a friend gave me a copy of the book Nourishing Traditions. In it was a recipe for kimchi, a korean saurkraut with ginger and garlic and paprika that i had tried before. Its so satisfying and yummy! And and it's $5 for a small jar that I could eat for lunch!

So I made it. I chopped my veggies, salted them, put them in a jar making sure they were covered by their own juices, and then let it sit on my window sill for a week.
And it was done. It was amazing. It was tangy, and fizzy, and so easy! 

Fermentation is constantly happening in our foods as they age, but we've lost touch with how to harness it. When we do we can have tangy foods without adding vinegar, and they are loaded with enzymes that our insides need to fight off harmful bacteria.

So, anyways, after that experiment, when Sandor Ellix Katz released "The Art of Fermentation" I was on it. Among the many things I've tried and loved, Arethepreserved lemons that I just started dipping into.
You should make them. You slice them, salt them, press them in a jar and cover them with lemon juice. You let them do their changing thing for three to four weeks, and then you unleash them into your food like bites of sunshine.

To be honest, I had never had them before I made them and I wasn't sure how I was going to use them. I watched them with sideways glances as they softened and sucked the saltiness into their rinds and wondered if they would just end up sitting in that jar for the next year or two. But one night broccoli was on the menu so I had it in the sauté pan and I thought "why not?" Right? So I grabbed a quarter of a lemon, chopped it up very finely, and tossed it into the pan with some garlic.

It was so good. So good.

I really can't tell you what it tastes like, but it's worth a little adventure.

Oh, and I made these cauliflower fritters, pictured above. 

Cauliflower Fritters
Florets from one head of cauliflower, steamed and mashed until course.
1/2 cup of grated Romano cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup of flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp fresh minced sage
1/4 preserved lemon, minced
Salt and pepper to taste 

Fry them in a couple of tbsp olive oil until lightly browned. 
These also refry quite well the next day. 

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