Preserved Lemons and Homemade Lemoncurd

by grainnep

The name of my blog is a good clue to one of my favourite ingredients, Lemons to me add the taste of sunshine to food. Memories of amazing days on holidays in southern Italy passing lemon groves on the way to the beach or out in the evening the smell of lemons in the air. The freshness of lemon in a salad dressing or as counterfoil to other ingredients in a dish.
As a child one of my favourite things was lemon curd and I often had to deny being the one responsible for half the jar being gone when mum went to use it. My brother even bought me a present once of a really good quality jar of lemon curd because he remembered how much I loved it… I had to resist using the spoon then and there.

I have 2 recipes here, one sweet, one savory. Claudia Roden (one of my favourite cookery writers)Preserved Lemons and also a recipe for lemon curd – Lemon meringue pie anyone?… Well, retro is the new modern!

Claudia Roden’s Preserved Lemons
About a dozen unwaxed lemons
and the juice of about 4 more needed after 3 days
Salt for preserving
Large Mason jar to hold them in.

Cut the lemons along their length almost but not quite right through as if you were going to quarter them.
Fill each lemon with about a tablespoon of sea salt.
Squash into the mason jar, seal and leave for a couple of days so the salt draws out the juice.
After 3 days, Top up with fresh lemon juice to cover the fruit.
Seal well and leave in a cool place for about a month.

These have a unique salty-but-lemon scented flavour and introduce a delicious punchy note to slow-cooked stews, salads and rice dishes. The idea is to scoop out the soft flesh and discard it, then finely chop the soft peel before adding to your dish, towards the end of cooking.

Lemon Curd
3 large egg yolks, strained
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces

Combine yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a small saucepan. Whisk to combine. Set over medium heat, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon, making sure to stir sides and bottom of pan. Cook until mixture is thick enough to coat back of the spoon, about 8 minutes.
Remove saucepan from heat. Add butter, one piece at a time, stirring with the wooden spoon constantly until it is smooth.
Strain to remove any egg bits and transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to avoid a skin from forming
Let cool then decant into your sterilised jars and refrigerate until needed.