To give you incentive to make these, and how to use the finished product, see the additional photos below: Chicken or Lamb Tagine, Pearl Couscous Salad with Dried Fruits and Goat Cheese with Herbs. For these recipes, contact Chef Charlie at Epicurean Exchange: firstname.lastname@example.org. You have plenty of time, since your lemons have to cure first!
Equipment: 1 liter Le Parfait or Mason canning jar
6 high-quality, medium organic Eureka (not Meyer, sorry) lemons, rinsed
1 cup kosher or sea salt
8 whole cloves
8 cloves garlic, peeled and bruised (smashed lightly with the side of a Chef’s knife)
3 bay leaves
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (and more to cover mixture when finishing)
• Cut the lemons in half through the ‘belly’. Squeeze the juice from half of the lemons and reserve. Put a 1-inch layer of salt in the bottom of your glass jar. In a large bowl, toss all the lemons, 2/3 of the remaining salt, cloves, garlic cloves and bay leaves. Firmly pack the mixture into the jar. Cover with the lemon juice, and top with remaining salt, and 1/2 cup of the olive oil. Cover jar tightly and turn and shake gently to mix and moisten the salt. Turn upright and add the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil to cover the lemons, as the mixture will have settled.
• Leave at room temperature. It will take the salt a few days to completely dissolve. Every couple of days, gently turn the jar upside-down and gently shake. Eureka lemons will take approximately 6 to 8 weeks (minimum) to cure. Lemons are ready when the pith and pulp is soft and can EASILY be removed from the rinds with the fingers. Check and if still too firm, replace and re-seal.
• When the lemons are ready, remove the fleshy pulp from the lemon rinds and discard. Rinse the lemon rinds well to remove salt. If not used right away, the rinds can be packed in fresh olive oil for 6 months to one year. Tip: remove all the lemons when they are ready; lemons can be over-cured and will become mushy.
CHEF CHARLIE'S BLOG
Chef Charlie is a Bay Area chef, culinary food educator, lifestyle coach, food enthusiast and culinary travel guide, who is fascinated by the interplay of food and culture.