Good things come to those who wait. Patiently. How was your weekend my foodie friends? Mine consisted of just enough Venti soy extra hot chai lattes, maple-almond buttered bagels, red papaya bowls, cranberry sauce making and fuyu persimmon buying. I made a huge shopping trip to Trader Joe’s to buy just enough fuyu persimmons to make the cashier look at me funny. I bought twelve. They were only $2.99 for 4. That’s quite the deal in my neck of the woods. I know I will eat every last one of them too. I also experimented with something I’ve been meaning to try for a while now. Lemon Confit. Though I will have to wait two weeks to taste my experiment. I’m excited because it was easy and somewhat relaxing to make. Check out my lemon confit story and recipe…
What is Lemon Confit? From Epicurious.com: “Confit is the French word confire meaning to preserve, and from the Latin word conficere meaning “to do” or to “prepare”. It is known to be one of the oldest ways to preserve food. There are two known confits; one is of meat the other is of fruit.”
First Taste: Lemon Confit. The first time I remember actually asking “what was that?!” in regards to lemon confit was when I first dined at Dirt Candy. The dish was made by Chef and owner of Dirt Candy, Amanda Cohen, who was also featured in my “Veggie Girl Power” series Amanda Cohen interview here. Amanda crafted this perfectly bright green spinach soup with drizzled bits of lemon confit on top. Tofu wontons on top too. Delicious. There is a nice picture of the soup here at Chocolate and Zucchini. You can see the glazed looking lemon confit rind strands on top. Yum! It was amazing, mostly because I had no idea what it was or how to get it. The lemon confit exploded with bright flavor in my mouth.
Researching Lemon Confit. When I embarked upon my online web search of how to make lemon confit, I found several options. But none more popular that the version by one of my favorite gourmet chef’s Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin, NYC. From theBittenword.com: “I add lemon confit to so many dishes—from broiled fish to pork and beans,” says Eric Ripert of New York City’s Le Bernardin. He blends his lemon confit with butter.”
…So why not add lemon confit to a few of my vegan dishes? I say yes please. This is Ripert’s recipe as posted on FoodandWine.com:
Eric Ripert’s Lemon Confit
5 cups kosher salt
5 tablespoons sugar
6 lemons, scrubbed and quartered
Directions: In a large bowl, mix the salt with the sugar. Toss the lemons with half of the sugar-salt. Pour a small layer of sugar-salt into a clean quart-size jar. Layer the lemons in the jar, covering them with the remaining sugar-salt as you go. Refrigerate the lemons for at least 2 weeks. To use, rinse the lemons well and use the peel only.
Two Weeks is a long time to wait, so you know it must be good! We’ll see. But what if you can’t wait? Keep reading…
Lemon Confit 2009: Express Lane. Then there are the new-age recipes probably crafted for the younger foodie generation who really can’t wait for much of anything. Yeah, OK I can certainly admit to being one of them. Although I will always wait for slow roasted winter squash, mushrooms and veggies. But anyways, it’s in our blood to want things fast! We can communicate/text message/tweet with anyone in a blink of an eye, so can’t we have the same speed with lemon confit? Maybe. There are several recipes online which boast lemon-confit-results in under an hour. Here is one example from Epicurious.com:
Faster Lemon Confit
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup canola oil
1 garlic clove
Pinch of salt
Directions: Using vegetable peeler, remove peel (yellow part only) from lemons in long strips. Squeeze 6 tablespoons juice from lemons. Blanch peel in small saucepan of boiling water 10 seconds; drain. Repeat twice. Bring 6 tablespoons lemon juice, olive oil, canola oil, garlic, and pinch of salt to simmer in small saucepan. Add lemon peel and simmer over low heat until peel is soft, about 1 hour. Cool. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 month ahead. Keep chilled and completely covered in oil. Always use clean fork to remove lemon.
After reviewing both recipes, I decided to go the old traditional route and wait 14 days for my results. But I really only had enough salt for two lemons, so here is the recipe I used:
Kathy’s Mini Lemon Confit
2 organic lemons, scrubbed and quartered
2 1/4 cups of sea salt, course grained
4 Tbsp vegan sugar, evaporated cane juice
1 mixing tub, 1 storing jar.
Directions: Cleaned and quartered my lemons. Then I mixed them around in the sugar-salt mixture, evenly. Then I layered the lemons into my storage jar with the salt/sugar. Covered tightly. Lastly, I stuck the jar in the very back of the fridge next to the half-full jar of apricot preserves. And just in time for Thanksgiving I will be able to unearth my lemons. Only the rind is to be used as the ‘lemon confit’.
So for all the patient chefs and foodies out there, if you make your lemon confit today, we can both explore a few fun recipes together. In two weeks. I’ll post about my results when my lemon confit is ready. Hmm, I wonder if my two lemons will ‘confit’ faster than Ripert’s 6? Anyone know?
..Patience is a virtue. I can wait. And if I can’t…I can always break out with the under an hour version too. We’ll see…