Last week I was intrigued by an article in the NY Times which gave a technique for quick-curing lemons. I love to use citrus zest in cooking (which I learned from Mario), so the idea of using the whole fruit sounded great. I was invited to a dinner party this evening, so I’m bringing a vegetable side dish (let the other guests bring the obligatory bottle of wine). These preserved lemons will be the perfect topping for my broccoli and radicchio salad, which I normally top with zest.
Over the weekend, I bought some beautiful Florida broccoli at the farmers’ market, and in addition, I found radicchio di treviso–that delicately bitter torpedo-shaped green that I love in salads.
My most exciting find was Meyer lemons. These lemons are the best, most fragrant lemons you can buy–and the perfect lemons with which to try the quick-cure recommended in the article.
The lemons are simply blanched in water, rinsed, then simmered in a water/salt/sugar solution for 3 minutes, then rinsed. the result is a beautifully perfumey, sweet mild lemon flavor.
The results of this dish were excellent (of course, I wouldn’t publish the dish if they weren’t). You can substitute regular lemons for Meyer lemons, but if you can find these lemons, the dish will be that much better.
Broccoli with Radicchio and Preserved Meyer Lemons
bunches broccoli, washed and trimmed
2 meyer lemons
1 tbl salt for curing, plus more to taste for salad
2 tbls sugar
1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
2 small heads radicchio di treviso (or regular round radicchio)
salt and pepper to taste
To cure lemons, slice into quarters, then de-seed. Slice each quarter crosswise into 1/4″ slices, knocking out any remaining seeds as you slice.
Blanch in plain boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse.
In a small pot, combine 1 c water with 1 tablespoon salt and 2 tablespoons sugar. Bring to boil. Drop in blanched lemon slices and simmer for 3 minutes.
Rinse and drain.
Blanch broccoli in well-salted boiling water for about 3 minutes, then drain. Slice radicchio crosswise into 1/2″ slices and toss with broccoli. Add lemons, oil and salt and pepper to taste.
Toss and serve.
That’s okay but you can’t really really call them preserved lemons as they are not. Try making real ones sometime. It’s worth it. You can do a 5 day version.