With the gift of organic lemons from a neighbour, it was a chance to make this quick pickle. There is a lot of confusion about what are pickled lemons and what are preserved lemon – it ranges from dried lemons (perserved) to soaked in brine and covered with lemon juice with or without a light covering of oil (both pickled and preserved), to lemons that have been salted and then stored in oil (a rarer pickle/preserve, but not uncommon).
This pickle or preserve is of the latter type. It is not an elegant pickle, or one that you would give for a gift. It is the type of pickle you make when all your lemons ripen at once and you need to use some quickly. Or a kindly neighbour gives you a basket of lemons from their tree and you don’t have time to make marmalade or preserve them Moroccan style.
Quick Pickled Preserved Lemon Slices
Slice 6 unwaxed lemons thinly, removing any pips. Spread them on a freezer-proof dish or tray and sprinkle generously with 3 Tblspn sea salt. Freeze for 24 hours, then thaw and drain off the juices using a strainer or colander.
Layer the slices in a clean glass jar, sprinkling a little paprika between the layers. Pour over enough olive oil to cover the slices by at least 1 cm. Add any of the following for extra flavour (optional): small hot chillies, cloves, cardamon pods, coriander seeds, bay leaf, pepper corns, turmeric powder, cinnamon sticks, kaffir lime leaves.
Use the lemons as you would use pickled lemons. The oil is wonderful in dressings, and for dunking crispy bread. Or use it again to top up your next batch of lemon slices.
Keeps in the fridge for a few weeks.