A Bitten Word Recipe
A Bitten Word Recipe
Don't you hate it when you have all this lemon confit just lying around, and you never know what to do with it but there it is, sitting in your fridge, making you feel guilty for not using it, and then finally you're just, like, "GOD, lemon confit, quit judging me," but the confit just keeps sitting there, staring you in the face?
Okay, maybe not.
But seriously, we'd made our lemon confit: packed the lemons in sugar and salt and preserved them in the fridge for a couple weeks.
But what to do with it?
Eric Ripert, the chef whose confit recipe we had used, says he uses it to flavor simmering dishes like pork and beans, or to make a lemon butter. They're also apparently a staple of Moroccan and North African dishes. Food author David Lebovitz uses preserved lemons in everything from sauteed vegetables to tapenade to Israeli couscous to ice cream.
We've come up with our own lemon confit dish -- far simpler than any of those others -- that we absolutely love. This Broiled Snapper with Lemon Confit could not be any easier -- or more tasty or more healthful. We've already made it twice in the past week!
In fairness, the idea of pairing lemon confit with fish isn't exactly a revelation. Both Ripert and Lebovitz mention it as a great use for preserved lemons. But in both cases, they talk about making a lemon butter to smear on the fish.
But we wondered what would happen if we skipped the butter and just scattered strips of preserved lemon over the fish before we broiled it.
So what happened? Amazingness, that's what happened.
We took a few of the quartered lemons out of the jar, rinsed them off, got rid of the flesh and cut the peels into small strips.
We seasoned the fish with salt, pepper and thyme. (We used snapper, but we think lemon confit would work with just about any fish.) We seared the fish in a little oil on the stovetop, sprinkled the confit strips over it, and threw it in the broiler. The entire thing took about 12 minutes from start to finish.
The result? Delicious! The preserved lemon imparts an incredible flavor to the fish, salty and citrusy and bright. It's a stunningly simple way to add a lot of taste while keeping the dish clean-tasting and healthful. And the confit strips themselves are out of this world! They crisp up just enough in the broiler to add a little texture to the fish.
We're eager to use lemon confit in other ways. But if all we ever used it on was broiled fish, it would be reason enough to always have some on hand.
Broiled Snapper with Lemon Confit
Approximately 1 lb piece of snapper
2 tablespoons chopped thyme
10-12 julienned strips of lemon confit (see note)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Turn broiler to high. On the stovetop, heat oil in a large, oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. On a plate, season fish with salt, pepper and thyme. Place fish in pan, flesh side down, searing for 4-5 minutes. Flip the fish, allowing it to sear on the skin side for 2 minutes. Place lemon confit on top of fish. Place pan in the oven, 4-6 inches from the heat source, and broil for 4-6 minutes, until lemon starts to brown nicely.
Note: In preparing the confit, remove the lemons from the sugar-salt mixture and rinse them. Remove the flesh from the peel and discard the flesh. Cut the peel into small strips.