Over the years, I’ve learned lots of neat tricks from our authors, but I’ve never been so impressed as I was the day I tried the microwave “preserved” lemons that Bruce Aidells uses in the marinade for his Lemony Moroccan-Style Chicken Kebabs. In just a few minutes, you can make a fair approximation of this North African staple ingredient that normally takes weeks to prepare. Granted, they’re not salty like the genuine article, but it’s nice to know that the next time I’m flipping through a Moroccan cookbook and get the urge to make something with preserved lemons, I won’t have to wait a month to try it.
To make quickie “preserved” lemons, cut four deep, equally spaced lengthwise gashes into each lemon. Put the lemons in a small microwavable container. Cover and microwave on high for 4 minutes or until the lemons are soft and the juice has exuded from them. If not soft, microwave in 30-second intervals until they are. Let the lemons cool briefly before using.