Make a simple side dish more impressive

Lemon Confit

(CBS News) Having grown up in New York City and attended international schools for most of my life, I thought I knew a lot about food. I considered my palate to be quite educated.

Nope. Turns out, there's so much I didn't know. I'm actually behind the curve.

Given, most of the foods I hadn't tried are delicacies: fois gras, blood sausage, sweetbreads, confit...to name a few. But, not a great excuse, given that a good number of my fellow students had already tasted, and liked, all of the above.

Video: Lemon confit: A surprising addition to any dish

I went into culinary school with the mentality that I would try everything at least once (even if I really didn't want to...on organ day, for example). Fois gras isn't my favorite, sweetbread texture freaks me out and confit is delicious. Blood sausage remains on the "to try" list.

But, this blog is about confit. Yum. I have yet to eat something confit that I don't like. Duck confit is by far the best (duck legs cured and cooked in duck fat - healthy, I know). But, garlic confit, tomato confit and lemon confit are also seriously yummy.

Lemon confit is particularly interesting to me. It adds a bright, yet subtle lemony flavor to your dish, plus an interesting chewy texture from the preserved rind. It will make any simple dish a lot more interesting.

In the video above, I mix some confit into chickpeas to make a simple side dish, but it would also be delicious with any fish or chicken dish.

To learn how to make lemon confit, watch the video above.

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Lemon Confit
Adapted from The International Culinary Center

  • 10 lemons
  • 2/3 cup salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 shallot
  • 6 cloves garlic

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add lemons. After water returns to a boil, cook 1 minute. Remove and using a paper towel or cloth, rub the wax off the outside of the lemon. Once lemons cool, place in freezer until firm, but not frozen, about an hour.

2. Finely dice shallots and garlic and place together in a bowl.

3. Mix salt and sugar in a separate bowl.

4. Slice lemons very thin on a mandolin.

5. Put a layer of the salt and sugar mixture at the bottom of a sealable container. Layer in the lemon slices, dusting each one with the salt and sugar mixture as you go. Every four or five lemons, add some shallots and garlic. Continue until you run out of lemons. When you are done, pour the remaining salt and sugar mixture over your lemons. Seal the container, and place in fridge for 2 to 3 days.

6. Rinse lemons off before use.

Side dish suggestion:

  • 1 can chick peas
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 6 to 8 slices lemon confit, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Mix chick peas, parsley, lemon confit, olive oil, salt and pepper together gently with a spoon. Serve!

  • Alison Stravitz

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