Food &Drink 28 North Africa Times Sunday 1/6/2008 Exploring Moroccan Food I f you’re not familiar with the cuisine of Mo- - 1/2 cup chicken stock rocco, learning about preserved lemons is a - 4 Tbsp chopped fresh ﬂat-leaf parsley, plus good way to start. Moroccan preserved lem- extra whole leaves for garnish ons are actually skin-on lemons that have been - Kosher salt, to taste pickled in salt and lemon juice. Most recipes - 1 whole preserved lemon, or equivalent suggest letting the lemons sit in the salt/lemon chunks juice mixture for several weeks before using - 18 or more pitted cracked green or kalama- them, although there are a few quicker meth- ta olives, cut in half ods. Once the lemons are ready, it’s the peel of - 1-2 Tbsp lemon juice the preserved lemons that’s used in Moroccan Combine garlic and spices, plus 1 tsp olive cooking, often added to the type of Moroccan oil, in a large dish. Add chicken, massage all stew called a TajineYou can buy preserved over with the spice paste, and marinate in a lemons online, or at a good import market, but ziploc bag, in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or plenty of food bloggers have written about how overnight. easy they are to make at home. Place remaining oil and onion in the base of a tagine or Dutch oven, and cook over lowest Moroccan Preserved Lemons heat until translucent, 3-4 minutes. Add chick- - Scrub the lemons with a vegetable brush en to the pot along with and dry them off. marinade in the bag, - Cut off the little rounded bit at the stem end plus the stock, parsley if there’s a hard little piece of the stem attached. and a little bit of salt. From the other end of the lemon, make a large Cover, and cook for 10 cut by slicing lengthwise downward, stopping minutes.Meanwhile, about 1-inch (3 cm) from the bottom, then mak- remove the pith and lengthwise. Slice the preserved kumquats in ing another downward slice, so you’ve incised pulp from the preserved half, also lengthwise. the lemon with an X shape. lemon, and rinse the Rinse the ﬁsh and thoroughly dry with paper - Pack coarse salt into the lemon where you peel. Julienne into thin towels in and out. Season with salt and pepper made the incisions. Don’t be skimpy with the strips. Place olives in a in and out and place in the broiler pan, piling salt: use about 1 tablespoon per lemon. saucepan with enough the preserved lemon and kumquats on top. - Put the salt-ﬁlled lemons in a clean, large water to cover; bring Drizzle with the olive oil.Turn the oven on to glass jar with a tight-ﬁtting lid. Add a few co- to a boil, then drain. broil and set the ﬁsh under the broiler for about riander seeds, a bay leaf, a dried chili, and a Repeat at least once 5 minutes, If the preserved lemon and kum- cinnamon stick if you want. (Or a combination more, to remove bit- quats begin to char you can push them down of any of them.) terness from the olives. next to the ﬁsh. Carefully turn the ﬁsh over, - Press the lemons very ﬁrmly in the jar to Add lemon strips and rearranging the lemon and kumquats back on get the juices ﬂowing. Cover and let stand over- olives to the chicken, top if they are not too brown, and cook another night. cover, and simmer for 30 minute more, or until Mix all the ingredients. Taste and adjust sea- 5 minutes. Depending on the thickness of your - The next day do the same, pressing the lem- the chicken is cooked through. Add lemon juice soning, if necessary. Serve. ﬁsh it will be ready. If it is thicker than 1 inch, ons down, encouraging them to release more and adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pep- turn the ﬂame down and let it ﬁnish in the oven juice as they start to soften. Repeat for a 2-3 per. Garnish with fresh parsley leaves. Serve MEDITERRANEAN SEA BASS WITH for a few more minutes. Remove the broiling days until the lemons are completely covered with couscous. PRESERVED CITRUS pan from the oven and add the olive. Let the with liquid. If your lemons aren’t too juicy, add Also known as European Sea Bass or Bran- ﬁsh rest for a few minutes while the olives more freshly-squeezed lemon juice until their MOROCCAN SALMON, FENNEL-PRE- zino, this little ﬁsh tastes a bit like perch, with warm through. Place the ﬁsh on serving plates, submerged, as I generally have to do. SERVED LEMON SALAD & SWEET PO- a similar white, ﬁrm ﬂake and a mild sweetness topping with the lemons, kumquats and olives. - After one month, when the preserved lem- TATO OVEN FRIES that will remind you of fresh scallops. With Pour and pan juices over the ﬁsh and serve. ons are soft, they’re ready to use. Store the lem- - 1 pound salmon ﬁllets relatively few and easy to remove bones, and ons in the refrigerator, where they’ll keep for at - 1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground cumin seed ﬁrm ﬂesh that holds its shape when cooked, it’s TAGINE OF CHICKEN & LEMON least 6 months. Rinse before using to remove - 1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground coriander seed well-suited for pan frying or grilling, or in this - 2 teaspoons of cinnamon excess salt. - 1 1/2 tsp. paprika case for broiling. In keeping with its Mediter- - 2 teaspoons of black pepper To use: Remove lemons from the liquid and - 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper ﬂakes ranean origin I prepared it simply, with a lit- - 2 teaspoons of ground ginger rinse. Split in half and scrape out the pulp. Slice - 1/2 tsp. salt tle preserved lemon, kumquat and kalamata - 1 teaspoon of turmeric the lemon peels into thin strips or cut into small - 1 Tbsp. olive oil olives. - 2 tablespoons of olive oil dices. You may wish to press the pulp through Wash the salmon and dry it well. Using nee- This recipe is lovely with ﬁllets, too, if you - 2 onions, chopped a sieve to obtain the ﬂavorful juice, which can dle-nosed pliers, remove as many pin-bones don’t want to deal with a whole ﬁsh, though - 2 chicken breasts be used for ﬂavoring as well, and then discard from the ﬁllet as possible. Skin the ﬁsh, if nec- you will want to change your cooking method, - 1 cup of chicken broth the innards.Once you have your supply of pre- essary, and cut it into 4 even pieces. as it is very difﬁcult to ﬂip ﬁllets. Julia Child - 1 lemon or preserved lemon served lemons, here are some ideas for using Mix the cumin, coriander, paprika, pepper advocates use of liquid when broiling ﬁsh, - Some chopped prunes, dried apricots, plum them: ﬂakes, and salt. Rub the spices over both sides based on a method she learned from George conserve, or a few spoonfuls of raisins (whatev- of the salmon ﬁllets. Berkowitz. This allows the top side of the ﬁsh er of these you have, just toss in a small amount CHICKEN WITH PRESERVED LEMON Heat the olive oil in a pan until it is hot, but to brown beautifully, while the bottom side of it, I used about 3 spoonfuls of conserve) AND OLIVES not smoking. Turn the heat to medium high, and cooks through and is kept moist and tender in What you’ll do... If there’s one dish that everyone thinks of as add the salmon. Cook for 3 – 5 minutes, or until the liquid. The ﬁsh is dried with paper towels, 1) Preheat oven to 350 F. Rub the chicken typically Moroccan, it’s this one, often called a the pan side of the salmon is lightly browned. seasoned with salt and pepper, and placed in a with the cinnamon, black pepper, and ground tagine, and cooked in a pot of the same name. Turn over and cook for 1 - 3 minutes, or un- buttered shallow baking dish. The top of the ginger, then let sit for an hour, covered, in the Usually a whole chicken is cut into serving til the salmon is done to your taste. The exact ﬁsh is dried again and buttered or oiled. White fridge. pieces; in this version, I’ve adapted to use bone- cooking time depends on the ﬁllets’ thickness; wine or water is poured to half the height of 2) Place the olive oil and turmeric in a less, skinless chicken thighs, which cook much keep in mind that salmon tastes better slightly the ﬁsh and the ﬁsh is broiled, brushing once or saucepot or skillet, mix, and heat over medium more quickly than using chicken on the bone, underdone than it does when it’s overdone. twice with butter or oil, until done. high heat. Place the chicken breasts in and sear but still stay moist. The chicken does need to Serve immediately on a bed of Fennel and on each side to seal in the juices. The chicken marinate for a while before cooking, so be sure Preserved Lemon Salad. A one pound ﬁsh will feed one person, so ad- should brown a bit and be very fragrant. About to leave extra time. Serves 6-8. just the recipe accordingly. 2-3 minutes. - 3 cloves garlic, crushed Fennel and Preserved Lemon Salad - 3 whole Mediterranean Sea Bass, about 1 3) Place the chicken in the tagine or other - 1/2 tsp ground ginger - 2 cups diced fennel, 1/4” dice pound each, scaled, gutted, gills and ﬁns re- oven safe dish to rest. Toss in the onions into - 1/2 tsp ground cumin - 1 cup diced red bell pepper, 1/4” dice moved the sauce pot or skillet so they can get a very - 1/4 tsp ground black pepper - 2/3 cup ﬁnely sliced green onions - 2 Tbsp olive oil quick sear and soak up the rest of the turmeric - 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, or 1 tsp harissa - 3 Tbsp. minced preserved lemon peel - 1/2 preserved lemon and oil. About 30 seconds. - 1/2 tsp turmeric - 2 tsp. minced garlic - 6 preserved kumquats 4) Place in the tagine over the chicken. Add - Pinch of saffron, crushed slightly - 1/2 tsp. freshly ground fennel seed - 6-8 kalamata or black olives, pitted and the chicken broth and fruit. Place a few slices - 2 Tbsp olive oil - Freshly ground black pepper halved of lemon over it and cover. Place in the oven - 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, - 1/3 cup Preserved Lemon Aioli (see recipe - Salt and pepper for 35 minutes. trimmed, cut into large chunks below) Rinse half of a preserved lemon under cold 5) Let sit for 5 minutes to cool a bit, and then - 1 large onion, ﬁnely chopped - 1/2 cup capers (optional) water, discarding the pulp. Thinly slice the peel serve with rice or couscous.