I’ve often said that a great chopped salad is one of the world’s most undervalued culinary masterpieces. Salads get a bad rap, existing under the domains of rabbit food, girl food and worst: diet food. I don’t love salads because they’re healthy (and yo, a field trip to CPK is about the same as one to Sprinkles) but because they’re a great way to get a ton of texture and tastes in one bowl.
Preserved lemons are salad Adderall. These Morrocan jewels are idiotproof when preserving, and brighten up absolutely everything you add them to. Kinda like Chris Messina. The preserving makes them completely edible, skin and all, tender and sweet. Kinda like, er... nevermind. Or just pick some up at a market like Whole Foods or Trader Joes.
Meyer Lemons (Sadly, must be. Don’t try with regular lemons.)
Slice the lemons any which way, and coat all surfaces in salt, liberally. Add to jar and really compress all lemons as you add them, there should be no air bubbles at all. Punch those suckers down. As you do, lemon juice is extracted. As long as the lemons are covered in lemon juice, completely, you’re good to go (add more if you need to, but keep ‘em covered)! Leave covered for a month before using. If you see anything growing, it means the lemons weren’t covered in lemon juice.
Add it Up Salad
Start with any lettuce mix (grow your own in a box on your fire escape! ). Toss in supremed orange slices (blood orange or grapefruit if you want to get fancy), some pickled beets, some sliced preserved lemons, candied walnuts, blue cheese crumbles and diced red onion.
If you don’t have pickled beets, roasted beets would be delicious, or another pickled vegetable. Want to pickle your own? Slice beets, pour spices and vinegar over them, and let sit next to your lemons.
I think bacon would be delightful in this salad because WHEN IS BACON NOT DELIGHTFUL, but really any protein like salmon or chicken or soy would be great on top. To dress it, mix up one part orange juice to one part white wine vinegar (or flavored vinegar), and mix in a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss it, and stuff your face.
This salad is full of crunch. Start with a fennel bulb (sometimes called anise) and core it, then slice thinly. Slice the preserved lemon thinly and toss it in.
Now add a handful of chick peas, cooked but well drained- pat 'em dry. Either buy pomegranate seeds (Trader Joes carries them) or just seed one yourself. Throw in some spicy pumpkin seeds.
To dress it, I crush a few raspberries or strawberries and mix it up with a splash of balsalmic or sweet flavored vinegar, some olive oil, a bit of salt and a hefty dose of pepper. Something about the pepper, berries and fennel works.
CousCous to You, Too
Start with couscous or Israeli couscous (I’m using whole wheat Israeli couscous here), cooked and cooled. Add slivered almonds, chopped preserved lemon, fresh oregano chopped, chopped avocado, tomato and tomatillo and slivered jalapeno to your liking. Slivered, deseeded jalapeno isn’t something to be scared of.
To dress it, squeeze a lime, add a tablespoon or two of honey and mix, and now add a tiny bit of sesame oil, mix well.
What else can you do with preserved lemons? Eat them whole. And not just to show off. They’re amazing. Grill them whole, toss an entire one into your blender while making hummus, add them to a tin foil pocket with chicken or fish and some peppercorns and toss into the oven.
Or just instagram them on a shelf to show off to your friends. But that’s not all! What weirdness are you doing with lemons?