I LOVE tapas food. Tapas is Spanish food served in small portions (think appetizer size) shared amongst a large group of people. They can be served warm or cold and go well beyond just eating a nice meal. Tapas is an atmosphere. Eating tapas is to be part of a much larger conversation – something universal and ancient. To me, tapas is the epitome of food bringing people to gather. It is love and communion.
Spanish food is heavily influenced by the various ethnicity that have lived and continue to live in Spain. Iberia has been inhabited by so many peoples – Romans, Jews, Moors. It is influenced by its geography, the ocean surrounds it and seafood is in so very many dishes. From olives to Serrano ham (similar to prosciutto, but so much better) to Moroccan influences of harissa.
Did I mention that I also love Moroccan food? I do not know what I would do without my tagine: http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-242925/Glazed-Terra-Cotta-Tagines
Preserved lemons are a staple in Moroccan cooking. And because of Morocco’s influence in Spanish history, they have become an intricale part of Spanish and Tapas cooking too.
I will share with you my recipe for preserved lemons, loosely based on one from El Farol cookbook by Chef James Campbell Caruso. And lest you think I have no reason to share this with you, tomorrow I will share with you a recipe in which you can you these lovely things.
Note: It is very important here that you use organic lemons as the peel is used in cooking. Conventional lemons not only have pesticide, but are often waxed as well.
The number of lemons you need depends on how large of a jar you have. I am giving you a recipe good for a quart-size jar. It is very important here to either avoid a metal lid or to keep the lemon, salt and oil away from the metal lid to avoid corrosion. I use something like this: http://www.abesmarket.com/12-oz-glass-terrine-flip-top-jar-3-pack.html?utm_source=googleps&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=chenebotanicals_J001&gclid=CPri77OKk7YCFcme4Aodi24A9w
6-8 organic lemons
2 cups sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil, preferably Spanish (Trader Joe’s sells Spanish Olive Oil.)
Cut the lemons in half, juice, reserving the juice.
Layer the lemons and sea salt in the jar, packing lemons and salt in the jar if necessary.
Cover the lemons and salt with the juice and top with the olive oil.
Tightly cover the jar and leave at room temp for 3 weeks.
After 3 weeks refrigerate.
To use: Rinse a lemon piece, chopped and place within your cooking dish.
Note: You do not great quantities of lemon, it is very potent!
Add a cinnamon stick, cloves, garlic, star anise, lavender or other herbs.