In this post, the second of two on cooking with preserved lemons, I’ve collected recipes published in Seasonal Pantry in 2003. For instructions on how to make preserved lemons, see the first post here. These are all my own recipes, developed in my home kitchen–modest and small but sweet and efficient–for either the column, one of my books or both. None of the recipes are difficult to execute but they do require preserved lemons, which take a week to ten days to make. If you don’t have any in your pantry, you need to either bum some from a friend or plan ahead.

Butter Lettuce with Gorgonzola Dressing

Serves 4

Although I prefer butter lettuce, you can use this dressing on whatever greens you like best, though it is a tad heavy for mesclun.

  • 2 tablespoons minced preserved lemons
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 ounces Gorgonzola cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Black pepper in a mill
  • 2 small heads butter lettuce, washed and dried
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the preserved lemons and parsley. Add the cheese, breaking it up with a fork or your fingers, garlic, and lemon juice and mix together. Stir in 1/3 cup of the olive oil, and add several generous turns of black pepper. Thin with more olive oil to attain a slightly loose consistency, taste, and correct the seasoning with more black pepper and more lemon juice to taste.
  2. Arrange the largest leaves of butter lettuce on individual serving plates and divide the smaller leaves among the portions. Spoon some of the dressing on top of each salad, grind black pepper over them, and serve immediately.

Cracked Dungeness Crab with Meyer Lemon Remoulade

Serves 3 to 4

For the absolutely freshest possible Dungeness crab, buy them live. Live crab is easy to prepare—simply drop the wriggling crustacean head first into a pot of boiling water and leave it until its brown shell turns red, about 10 to 12 minutes. Use tongs to remove it from the water, cool slightly, clean it, and either serve it hot or plunge it (before cleaning) into an ice water bath for about 30 minutes to chill it.  The legs will need to be cracked and I find the best way to do this is with nut cracker.

  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 4 scallions, white and green part, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons minced preserved lemons
  • 2 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 2 (about 3 1/2 pounds total weight) cooked, cleaned, and chilled Dungeness crab
  • 2 lemons, cut in wedges
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, scallions, lemons, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce.  Taste the mixture, and add the remaining Tabasco sauce for more heat.
  2. Break the legs away from the bodies of the crabs, then use your hands to break the bodies in half.  Place the crab bodies and legs on a large platter, add the lemon wedges, and serve the sauce alongside.

Artichokes with Lemons & Cippolini

Serves 4 to 6

These artichokes make an excellent accompaniment to grilled or roasted chicken. Served with polenta, they are an excellent vegetarian main course.

  • 6 large artichokes, preferably Green Globe variety
  • 12 cippolini onions (small, flat onions, available at Fiesta and Pacific markets)
  • 24 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup preserved lemon wedges
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper in a mill
  • 2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
  1. Trim away the outer leaves of each artichoke and then cut it in half lengthwise. Use a small pairing knife to make a horizontal cut between the base of the choke and the top of the heart, cutting deeply enough to reach the leaves but no further. This cut will allow you to pull out and discard the choke and the inner leaves with sharp spikes. Make a second horizontal cut across the top (tip end) of the artichoke, removing about 1 1/2 inches of the leaf tops. Fill a bowl with water, squeeze in the juice of the lemon, and put the trimmed artichokes in the water.  Continue until all of the artichokes are trimmed.
  2. Carefully peel away and discard the outer skin of the onions. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Drain and dry the artichokes and arrange them in a single layer in an earthenware baking dish. Place an onion in the center of each artichoke and top it with a lemon slice. Scatter the garlic cloves between the artichokes. Drizzle with the olive oil and wine, season with salt and several turns of black pepper,  and if there are any lemon slices left, tuck them here and there among the artichokes. Scatter the Italian parsley over everything, and seal the dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes, test for doneness by poking one of the artichokes through the heart with a bamboo skewer. If it is not tender, reseal the aluminum foil, and cook until done; the time will vary depending on the age and variety of the artichokes.
  3. Remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Composed Salad with Chicken, Olives, Angel Hair Pasta, and Preserved Lemons

Serves 4 to as a main course

This composed salad is both beautiful and delicious, perfect as a main course for lunch or for dinner on a warm night.

  • 1/4 pound pancetta or bacon
  • 6 ounces spaghettini
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds cooked chicken meat, preferably from the thigh and leg
  • 1 cup black olives, pitted
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce
  • 2 to 3 ounces freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 3 preserved lemons wedges, minced, plus several wedges for garnish
  • 4 to 5 anchovy filets
  • 3 cups homemade croutons, toasted
  1. To make the salad, bring a large pot of boiling, salted water to a boil. Dice the pancetta or bacon and cook it in a heavy skillet until it just begins to crisp, being careful not to burn it. Cook the pasta in the boiling water until it is just done. Drain it, rinse with plenty of cool water, and let stand in a colander or strainer until any water has drained off.  Toss the pasta with just enough lemon juice and olive oil to coat it lightly. Season with salt and black pepper. Set aside.
  2. Cut the chicken into medium julienne and set aside. Cut the olives in half lengthwise. Remove any damaged outer leaves and the core of the lettuce. Cut the remaining lettuce crosswise into 3/4″ strips.
  3. To assemble the salad, have all of the ingredients easily at hand, along with a large straight-sided clear glass bowl, if available. If it is not, any large salad bowl will do.  Begin to assemble the salad by placing half of the romaine lettuce in the bowl. Top with half the pasta. Arrange half of the chicken on top of the pasta, followed by the olives, and top that first with half the cheese, half the bacon, half the capers, and half the preserved lemons, arranging each ingredient over the entire surface. Pour half of the dressing over the salad. Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients. Complete the salad by topping it first with wedges of preserved lemons, anchovy filets and finally with the croutons. Serve immediately.
  4. It is not necessary to toss the salad to serve it. Simply use a large serving fork and serving spoon to extend down into the bowl and pull out each portion.


Artichoke, Fennel, & Chicken Salad with Preserved Lemons and Green Olives

Serves 4 to 6

This salad, too, makes a wonderful lunch or light dinner.

  • 2 range chicken leg-thigh pieces
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper in a mill
  • 3 boiled artichokes, cooled
  • 1 large fennel bulbs, trimmed, and thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup green olives, preferably Picholine, pitted and halved
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced preserved lemon
  • Preserved lemon wedges, for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Set the chicken in an ovenproof pan, season lightly with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and bake until just done, about 25 minutes. Let cool until easy to handle. Pull the chicken meat off the bones.
  2. Pull the leaves away from the artichoke hearts, discarding the outer leaves and reserving the tender inner ones. Remove the choke and cut the hearts into thin, crosswise slices. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, artichokes, fennel, and olives, drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, and toss lightly.  Add the preserved lemons and several turns of black pepper and toss again. Taste the correct the seasoning. Divide the salad among individual serving plates, garnish each portion with artichoke leaves, wedges of preserved lemon, scatter a few green olives over the top, and serve immediately.