Lemon Confit

From Tom Colicchio’s “Thinking Like A Chef,” a book I unhesitatingly recommend to you: beautiful, freeing and useful. ‘Confit’ is simply a fancy french term that means ‘preserved.’

I toss these in with green beans or roasted asparagus;  chop them up with roma tomatoes and fresh herbs to put on fish, chicken or pork; lay them on top of baked meats of all kinds, toss them into soups or pasta dishes. I’ve been thinking about combining them with calamata olives and dried cranberries (but it’s going to be pretty salty)….

I gave little jars of these away for Christmas. They can survive outside the refrigerator for a week or so without suffering, but should be refrigerated after mailing. The bright red color mixed in is difficult to resist.

Here’s how it’s done:

Plunge 12 Lemons in boiling water, drain, rinse and wipe lemons clean.
Dry them and slice very thin, discarding the ends and removing the seeds.

Mince and combine 5 shallots, 6 garlic cloves.
Mix 2/3 c. kosher salt and 1/3 c. sugar.

[I often put red peppers and red pepper flakes in with the herbs. Haven’t used shallots yet. A few hot peppers never hurt.]

In the bottom of a french canning jar or other non-reactive container with a top:
Arrange a layer of lemon slices, sprinkle with garlic and shallots mixture and then some salt/sugar mix. Repeat, layering until the final slices are topped with the last of the sugar and salt mixture. Colicchio suggests at this point to cover and refrigerate.

But, I press down the slices with a jar until the juice rises to the top and leave it out for three or four days at cool room temperature and then refrigerate. You can use these after three or four days, or cover them with olive oil and keep them in the fridge for months. They are bright, lemony, mellow rather than acid, and a magnificent ingredient with which to toy.

Let me know how you fare with these.

Cheers and peace to your kitchen,


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