Food & Wine (July 2009)
"Lemon confit" is one of those food phrases that sounds so complicated, so mysterious, so wonderfully French. It conjures images of culinary school, "Top Chef" and Michelin-rated restaurants.
At least it did for us.
But then we came across this incredibly simple confit recipe in the July Food & Wine. It's from the chef Eric Ripert (who, uh, went to culinary school, has made numerous appearances on "Top Chef" and who runs a four three-star Michelin-rated restaurant).
Ripert's method is so easy, though, that it's taken lemon confit from a beguiling menu term to a staple in our refrigerator.
But what exactly is confit? How the heck do you confit a lemon? And what can you do with it?
Initially, we had no idea, so of course we plunged ahead with making a batch.
If you don't know, "confit" simply means to preserve or enhance the flavor of a food by packing it a substance. Typically, that substance is fat, sugar or salt. Duck confit, for instance, is duck that has been cooked in duck fat, which enhances its flavor.
Fruits and vegetables can be confited by packing them in sugar or salt. Such is the case with this preparation of Lemon Confit.
It's terribly simple. The lemons are washed and quartered, dropped in a jar and covered with a salt and sugar mixture.
The only catch? They have to sit in the refrigerator for two weeks.
There are other ways to make lemon confit that take far less time. For instance, here's one that takes about an hour. But that requires blanching and an hour of stirring while the lemons simmer on the stove. We prefer this no-fuss, sit-in-the-fridge-for-two-weeks recipe.
So now that we have all this confit, what are we going to do with it?
We'll tell you in our next post!
“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 to add a pleasantly pungent flavor to broiled snapper. Before broiling, he dots some of the lemon butter on the fish, then serves more lemon butter on the side. Lemon confit can be refrigerated for several months, but if you don’t want to make your own, jarred Moroccan preserved lemons are a fine substitute.
TOTAL TIME: 15 MIN Plus 2 weeks curing
* 5 cups kosher salt
* 5 tablespoons sugar
* 6 lemons, scrubbed and quartered
1. 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.