Friday, May 20, 2011

Lentil and Quinoa Salad with Preserved Lemon

Seriously, how did I live without preserved lemons for so long? The salt, the tang and the zest of this fermented food is completely magical!

I followed the common method of cutting up lemons and packing them into jars with salt. I held off on the spices and herbs that are sometimes included as to make the usages very multi-functional.

This is one salad that resulted from my first bites of my now obsessive love for the preserved lemon. If you do go ahead and make preserved lemons, also try the lemon-lentil soup and garnish with some preserved lemon!

Preserved Lemons
So easy, waiting is the only difficult part! You may want to make a larger jar, but I give the measurements for a 500 ml jar, feel free to double it for a one litre jar and thank me later! In this case, organic is really the only way to go since you are actually only eating the rind.

1- 500 ml jar, washed and dried
4 organic lemons, scrubbed
1/4 cup kosher or sea salt, non-iodized

1. Cut knobby ends off 3 of the lemons. Cut into halves from the top down and then into thirds to make 6 sections.
2. Pack the lemons into the jar, sprinkling in a few tsp of salt in every layer. Press down hard to release as much juice as possible as you go. Continue until jar is full. Squeee juice from remaining lemon and pour over top and add remaining salt.
3. Press down with wooden spoon to make sure that lemons are full submerged and that you have some headspace. Cover with lid.
4. Set aside in cool dark spot for 3 weeks. After that, store in the fridge for up to 6 months. When needed, scrape the flesh out (use it if you want), and mince the lemon rind for use in soups, stews and salads.

Lentil and Quinoa Salad with Preserved Lemon
If you decide not to go to the work of preserving lemons (which I highly recommend!) then use the grated zest of a lemon in its place and add some sea salt to this simple recipe.

2 cups cooked or canned green/brown lentils
1 cup cooked quinoa (1 cup quinoa in 1 1/2 cups water, bring to a boil. Simmer 15 mins and reserve remaining quinoa)
3 tbsp minced parsley
3 tsbp minced red onion
2 tbsp minced preserved lemon + 2 tsp lemon liquid from jar
2 tbsp olive oil

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl an serve at room temperature.