Monday, June 28, 2010

Thomas Keller's Cured Lemons: Part 1 of Who Knows?

There's a lot more to the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen than drinking fine wine, eating gourmet food, and attending fabulous parties.

Learning recipes and techniques like this cured lemon from some of the world's best chefs is also a big part of the reason I wear a smile on my face for about a week after my return.

This recipe was shared by Thomas Keller during his "World's Best Preserves" demo, which you may have read about in Part 1 of my top ten highlights recap. This technique is fun, very simple, and you'll be surprised at how many interesting things you can do with these salty slices of sunshine.

This is just the beginning. Stay tuned for a few follow-up recipes with some great ideas for using the preserved lemons. I think I'm going to try it minced in an herb aioli, as well as roasted whole over some quail or other bird. If you want to play along at home, start a batch soon, and be sure to chime in with suggestions for what to do with this stuff. Enjoy!




Ingredients:
3 lemons, washed in hot water, cut into 1/8-inch thick slices
1/3 to 1/2 cup kosher salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar

40 comments:

ChrisClark1994 said...

Haha I don't want to sound like an know it all. But if you just put sugar on the lemons, they're gonna turn out dreadfully bitter. And a combination of Sugar then salt would be the best. Like Nuringen (A chemical anti-oxidant and an alkaloid.. strong ones.. which of course is in Grapefruit, Lemons, and dangerously bitter fruit.) Salt some how blocks the receptors in you're tongue that block bitterness ones on someone's tongue. Thus deleting most of the bitterness characters and the remaining flavors are basically sour and sweet.

(Try this if you want, cut a grapefruit in half, then supreme it so they are in little portions inside the skin halfs so you a bowl too :), then put a generous amount of sugar on top, caramelize it with a torch, then sprinkle some kosher salt on time then eat!) You will find that it is Sour and Sweet. Just like those lemons. :) Science, it's awesome!

Anonymous said...

Hello Sheaf
I made cured lime some years ago in some different glasses and added some leaf of mint, rose blossom and Cardamom to it separately. I drink black tea with cured lime, it delicious. thanks for reminder.
Neda from Iran

Steven said...

Is it safe to assume we could cure other citrus fruits the same way? Do you know why Eureka lemons rather than Meyer lemons?

Steven said...

Is it safe to assume we could cure other citrus fruits the same way? Do you know why Eureka lemons rather than Meyer lemons?

Steven said...

Oh, also, I know that Thomas Keller is very specific about what kind of Kosher salt he uses. Is this a situation where we can just use whichever kosher salt, or do we have to find a box of Diamond Crystal?

Chef John said...

This is my first time, but i assume any citrus will work. I believe since meyer are so low acid, that standard lemons work better for preserves.

Any kosher salt will work.

Razors Edge said...

is it just my computer or is the video very flickery ? almost unbearable to watch this one :(

Chef John said...

must be your connection, looks good to me

Momgateway said...

I've always wanted to try making preserved lemons...now that you posted the recipe it does not sound too intimidating...thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hello Chef.

I really wanted to try these but i didnt have any kosher salt, so i used normal table salt. Do you know if normal salt works too?

I hope to find some kosher salt when i go to town. :)

Thanks!

Chef John said...

Salt is salt, but table salt is much finer and so a 1/2 cup would be almost twice as much salt as a flaky kosher brand.

Chef John said...

Salt is salt, but table salt is much finer and so a 1/2 cup would be almost twice as much salt as a flaky kosher brand.

Anonymous said...

I have done mine stacked one on top of the other in a small jar. They are completely covered by the solution and are curing away.

Anonymous said...

Finally, a use for all the lemons i zest in my other dishes! this looks delish, can't wait to see what you do with it later.

Dave said...

Did you do anything special when you put them in the jar, aside from making sure it was clean?

Chef John said...

Nope. That's really all you need!

Ruslan said...

Chef,
having seen your recent vid about the quails, would wonder what could the marinade be used for? That mixture of sugar, salt, lemon juice left in the jar when all lemons are used up, can we use it for anything?

Thanks in advance for your response! And many thanks for your vids. Extremely cool.. as always.. (c) :)

Chef John said...

I'm sure it has a use, but I have no idea what it is.

Tamira said...

Hi
I was just wondering if you could use lemons without rind for this recipe-- i have a whole bunch of lemons from which I removed the rind for limoncello.

Thanks =)
PS I love your site!

Chef John said...

Nope, you need the skin for sure.

Charlemange said...

Hi chef. Do you know if honey powder can be used in place of sugar? Will it 'draw' the same?

Chef John said...

Sorry, no idea about honey

Charlemange said...

I just used kosher salt and sugar then. So far it's looking and smelling good.

Anonymous said...

After the lemons sit for 3 or 4 days should they be refrigerated?

Chef John said...

yes, toss them in a jar and keep in the fridge.

Anonymous said...

Day 2 for me and looking good. Can't wait until I can use them in those recipes you posted.

Chef John said...

hope you like them!

Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks for this recipe. I tried it out last night as the inspiration behind a pizza I put together: smoked salmon, dill mascarpone, capers, olive oil and the cured lemons. It was definitely a winner.

I just made lunch with the leftovers: the same stuff with arugula and grainy mustard on sourdough baguette. This was probably one of the best sandwiches I've ever had in my life! Both uses are highly recommended.

Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks for this recipe. I tried it out last night as the inspiration behind a pizza I put together: smoked salmon, dill mascarpone, capers, olive oil and the cured lemons. It was definitely a winner.

I just made lunch with the leftovers: the same stuff with arugula and grainy mustard on sourdough baguette. This was probably one of the best sandwiches I've ever had in my life! Both uses are highly recommended.

FoodWishesFan said...

Hey Chef!

I tried both your quail and lemon aioli recipes and they both turned out really well! Will you be posting anymore recipes using cured lemons? THEY'RE AWESOME!

Anonymous said...

I hope this may be of some interest to you all. Harold McGee in On Food and Cooking (page 377) is talking about lemon preserved mostly like this. The technique is slightly different since “They’re made by cutting and salting lemons and letting them ferment for some weeks”. Unfortunately he does not mention any use for them. Chef John, if you have some new recipe with cured lemons…please share it with us.

Dave said...

Dear Chef John

I want to use the cured lemon in my Christmas turnkey (under the skin and inside on top of the flavored butter. What is your take on this? Thanks a lot

Chef John said...

Sounds good to me!

dcivera said...

If you are making a caesar salad dressing, please consider using this.

I was using chef John's recipe:
http://americanfood.about.com/od/saucesdipsanddressings/r/Caesar_Dressing_Recipe.htm

and instead of adding 1/4 cup of lemon juice I added one slice of cured lemon and two tsp of the juice. It made such a difference!!! You might add more (my wife is sensitive to the lemon taste so I can only put a little), but it add tremendous flavor.

Iraida said...

Hello Chef,
So I'm obviously very behind on this post/video. I'm wanting to make lemons like this for DECORATION. What do I do after the steps you took on your video ?

Thanks so much,
Iraida

Chef John said...

Sorry, not sure what you mean.

CologneCarter said...

I am courious how they will taste and how the juice will taste, but I have no real ideas what do with them/how to use them in the cooking I do, as I can't imagine the flavor yet. So I will limit it to one lemon this time. If I find I don't really like it or don't find enough recipes to use it for, I don't have to waste more than a single lemon.

Darcy Thomas said...

I can't find the part 2 where you bottle them. I presume it is simply putting them in a bottle in the fridge...? And will they last indefinitely ?thanks in advance.

Chef John said...

there's no part 2. i was referring to using the lemons after they are cured. Not sure how long they last, but many months at least.

Nise said...

Just made a batch of cured lemons using your wonderful recipe. They look sunny and beautiful like spring.