I did a big shopping trip today in anticipation of next week’s Brooklyn Flea. The refrigerator is now packed with eggs (9 dozen), oranges (36), and butter (20 pounds), not to mention the usual things needed to feed a family of four. While rearranging things in the fridge to make space, the mostly empty jar of preserved Meyer lemons that I had made caught my eye. Since last December it has occupied a spot on the top right shelf, usually hiding behind another jar so I always forget that it’s there. Tonight was pasta night and I was planning to make a dish with leftover green olives from last Friday’s lamb stew, so I chopped up the last of the lemons and threw them in as well. It turned out to be a nice addition to our usual pasta with olives. The lemons really brightened it up and since they are preserved in salt, I didn’t even have to salt the dish. The only other thing it could have used was some fresh herbs or marinated artichoke hearts, neither of which I had – not enough refrigerator space.
Preserved lemons are easy enough to make. Quarter your lemons (as many as you want to make) and toss with lots of kosher salt. Put them in a jar, cover with a bit more salt, and cover the jar tightly and let it sit on the counter for a few days. The lemon juice will start to dissolve the salt, but you can stir them a bit now and then to help it along. Store the jar in the refrigerator when the salt is completely dissolved (usually no more than a week). The zest is the part that is used, so cut the zest off the lemon and chop it up. This method will work with any lemons, not just Meyer lemons, but those are especially delicious.
Spaghetti with Preserved Meyer Lemon
12 ounces dried spaghetti
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 preserved lemons, chopped (see above)
8 large green olives, pitted and chopped
1 Tablespoon capers, chopped
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly shaved parmesan cheese
Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water until al dente. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a heavy skillet until crispy. Add the garlic and stir for one minute. Add the lemons, olives and capers and stir for one more minute. Stir in the cooked pasta and olive oil. Toss until evenly distributed and serve with shaved parmesan.