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Lemon confit in oil with herbs and spices- Lamoun makbouss

To be completely honest with you I don’t find any sophisticated taste in the salty lemons, maybe I tried the wrong ones or I have a wrong taste. But … at the end of October we dined in a very good Moroccan restaurant. As an appero to the freshly-baked bread they brought us the olives with the pieces of lemons confit, which were very-very good and differed from what I’ve eaten before. The chef told me that the difference made in the olive oil in which he preserves the lemons. I went through dozens of books, blogs and articles in order to find the recipe. The closest to my taste was in “The Cookbook of Middle East and North Africa” , though I had to adjust the original recipe to my taste.

Lemon confit in oil with herbs and spices- Lamoun makbouss

  • 500 g bio-lemons
  • 50 g coarse sea salt
  • Wash thoroughly the lemons and cut (with the skin) into 0,4 inch thick slices
  • Transfer the slices into a wide bowl, toss with the salt, cover with the cling film and leave for 24 hours at the room temperature
  • 1 rosemary sprig (2 inches)
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 sprig basil
  • 1 sprig oregano (2 inches)
  • 1 small chilli pepper
  • 1 tsp mix of black and pink peppercorns
  • 3 juniper berries
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-1,5 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp sugar (optional)
  • olive (vegetable) oil
  • cut the pepper in half and discard the seeds, slice
  • slice the garlic
  • mix the sugar and paprika
  • cut each herb sprig in 2
  • into an airtight jar add a small amount of black and pink peppercorns, chilli, juniper berry, bay leaf and one layer of lemons (without it juices)
  • sprinkle with the paprika, add a slice of garlic and a bit of herbs
  • repeat the layers to fill in the jar
  • pour in the oil
  • cover the jar tightly and leave in a cool place for 2-3 weeks

In one of the recipes I read that you need to take 100 g of salt per each kilo of lemons, i.e. 1/10 of the lemons weight. To reduce the bitterness of the lemon blanch the lemons in a boiling water and run under the cold water, repeat 2-3 times. At the end I was happy with the result of these lemon confit. Take any herbs of your choice, I think it would be good to add coriander seeds.