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Author Notes: This recipe comes from Prune by Gabrielle Hamilton. We like to use it in this recipe that combines mixed colored carrots, preserved lemon butter, and honeycomb: https://food52.com/recipes/33762-mixed-colored-carrots-with-preserved-lemon-butter-and-honeycomb. Note that you will make many more salt-preserved lemons than you need for the butter, but they will come in handy in other dishes. —Food52
Makes about 4 pints
For the butter:
- 2 pounds butter, softened
- 8 salt-preserved lemons (see below)
- 1/2 cup shallots, roughly chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup chopped basil
- In a food processor, grind shallots and garlic. Add lemon juice, then transfer mix to a Kitchen Aid.
- Remove collapsed flesh of preserved lemons and discard. ONLY USE THE SKIN.
- Make sure to remove pith. Finely mince preserved lemon skin.
- Combine butter, garlic-shallot paste, minced preserved lemons, and basil and mix using the paddle attachment until fully combined.
For the salt-preserved lemons:
- 48 lemons, washed
- 1 3-pound box kosher salt
- 1 quart (or more) fresh lemon juice
- 12 quarts Lexan container (or another large non-reactive, sealable container)
- Cut the lemons almost all the way through into quarters, keeping them attached at the stem end.
- In the bottom of your container, pour an even 1/2-inch bed of salt.
- Set the lemons into the salt, cut sides up and open packing them in tight side by side.
- When you have nestled in 1 layer (about a quarter of the lemons), pour salt in heavily into all the open cavities of the lemons of the first layer.
- Set in another layer of lemons, in soldier rows, on the top of the others. Again, cavities are up and open.
- Really blanket them in salt at each layer.
- Pack all the lemons in the same way, the pour lemon juice over at the end.
- Cover and store in the refrigerator, agitating occasionally for the first few weeks to moisten the lemons with the accumulating brine. The lemons need to be eventually become submerged in this bring; if it doesn’t cover them after a month, get in there with your hands and give them a little help. Add more fresh lemon juice if necessary.
- KEEP AHEAD ON THESE FOR BRUNCH.