When life gives you lemons, preserve them in salt and spices and then caramelize some onions and garlic.
(An Almaza doesn’t hurt, if there’s one in the picture.)
This is always a good first step.
Place the onions and garlic with some cheese and fresh figs on freshly baked flatbread. Place the lemons in the corner as decor. Bake (the flatbread, not the lemons) at a high temperature.
Sip your Almaza. Inhale deeply.
Moroccan-Style Preserved Lemons
Everyone has a different set of instructions for how to make these. Blanch the lemons; soak the lemons. Rinse the lemons; don’t rinse the lemons. Use olive oil. Use salt. Spice with cinnamon, bay, cloves; don’t spice at all. Preserve in water; preserve in lemon juice. Preserve whole lemons and slice them later; slice first and then preserve.
Fortunately my internet cut off as I was exploring all of these options, so I had to make one up off the top of my head.
You will need:
A jar with a well-sealed lid
6 lemons (ish, depending on the size of your container)
Lots of salt
Some bay leaves, some cloves, a dash of cinnamon
Extra lemon juice
Bring water to a boil and blanch your lemons for a few minutes (immerse in boiling water then plunge into cold water after a few minutes).
Line the bottom of your jar with salt.
Slice an “x” into each lemon, cutting a third to halfway down. Using a spoon, wedge in a very generous amount of salt into each one (generous means a heaping spoonful, at least). After each one is prepared, smush it into the bottom of the jar. After your third or fourth lemon, they should be swimming in their own juice.
After the jar is about halfway full, distribute your spices in the jar and around the lemons. Artfully.
Keep smushing until you can’t fit any more in your jar. Top off with extra lemon juice so that they’re all nearly submerged.
Place a top on the jar. Every day or two for a week or so, smush the lemons farther down till completely submerged. And stir around a bit to ensure equal distribution of liquid and spiciness. Allow to pickle for (2-4 weeks? I’ll let you know). And then enjoy the tart deliciousness in salads, stews, tagines, with seafood…you name it.
NB I may or may not have accidentally put sugar and not salt at first into my first two lemons (it’s been a long week, ok?). We decided to leave the sugar but add some salt. I’ll let y’all know how those turn out.
Caramelized Onion and Fig Flatbreads
I say flatbreads because it seems more fitting than pizza – mostly because of my extremely rustic crust shapes – but it’s really just a white pizza. This recipe is very simple and very delicious.
For the crust, use this recipe for Moroccan flatbread, which is the best pizza crust I have yet to find.
Then caramelize some onions. Maybe 5 of them or so. Cook them on low heat, slowly, with a touch of sugar and a bunch of butter & olive oil. It will take a while. It will be worth it.
Slice up some fresh figs into thin strips (when I did this I used medallions but if I did it again I would most definitely do strips) and toss into the onion mixture just as the caramelizing process is finishing.
Dot your crust with thinly sliced garlic. Add a layer of cheese, freshly shredded (I like a combination of parmesan and mozzarella) and then spoon (thinly, ish) the onion & fig mixture over the crust. Top with more cheese.
Bake. Hard to say at what temperature or for how long, as I’m back to a fire-in-a-box, temperamental model of oven that simply demands to be babysat throughout the baking process, but I would say 400 degrees F for 10-15 minutes. It doesn’t hurt to turn the broiler on just at the end to brown the cheese and make sure the garlic is extra well-roasted.