Tag: moroccan preserved lemons

Cardamom Lentil Burgers, Dill Sour Cream and Preserved Lemon Sandwich

Lentil Burger

I finally made my first preserved lemons of 2015, one of my new annual pantry traditions. Until last year, I focused on jams and chutneys in my kitchen, but then I remembered my grandmother’s passion for preserving, her huge cellar packed with shelves up to the ceiling. I can still picture the long lined jars of preserved fruits, all those cherries, plums, pears and apples kept in colourful juices, the crop always came straight from her own or her children’s garden. I used to love this room in her old house with the cherry tree in the garden, this was true kitchen magic for my young eyes.

In late summer, my family used to have so many fruits that preserving was the only way to prevent waste. Living in the city doesn’t really confront me with this problem, we eat the fruit and vegetables as soon as I buy them or not long after. So unfortunately, there are no baskets full of ripe late summer harvests waiting for me on the kitchen top, but I discovered a couple recipes that are equally satisfying, in preparation and consumption: lemons and artichokes!

This year’s preserved lemons are already as tasty as the last batch. I prepared them about 6 weeks ago and they still need a couple months to turn into perfectly tender bites, but I’m impatient and today’s recipe asked for their salty sourness. I made meatless burgers with black Beluga and red lentils. The dark lentils stayed crunchy after I cooked them and the red legumes were quite soft, the perfect burger mixture. I refined them with cardamon, parmesan and red onions, squeezed them in a bun and topped the little beauties with a refreshing dill dip and my fruity lemons – a proper spring burger!

Lentil Burger

 

Lentil Burger

Cardamom Lentil Burgers, Dill Sour Cream and Preserved Lemon Sandwich

I made 15 lentil patties, for the 2 sandwiches you will only need 4.

For 2 sandwiches you need

rustic white buns, cut in half, 2
rucola, a small handful
preserved lemon, very thinly sliced, 1/4
(alternatively, you could use the roasted lemon peel from this recipe)

For the patties

black Beluga lentils 125g / 4 1/2 ounces
red lentils 125g / 4 1/2 ounces
small bay leaves 2
medium sized red onion, finely chopped, 1
garlic, crushed, 1 clove
organic eggs 2
parmesan, grated, 100g / 3 1/2 ounces
breadcrumbs 70g / 2 1/2 ounces
cardamom 1 teaspoon
salt 1 1/4 teaspoons
pepper
olive oil, for frying

For the dill sour cream

sour cream 200g / 7 ounces
fresh dill, chopped, 4 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon for the topping
olive oil 2 teaspoons
heavy cream 1 tablespoon
a pinch of cardamom
a pinch of sugar
salt and pepper

Cook the red and black lentils separately, according to the instructions on the package, each with 1 bay leaf but without salt. My Beluga needed 20 minutes in 325ml / 11 ounces of water (they should be al dente), the red lentils took 10 minutes in 325ml / 11 ounces of water to be done (they should be soft and mushy). Drain both well once they are cooked and let them cool for about 10 minutes (I cooked mine a few hours before I made the patties).

Set the oven to 200°C / 390°F (fan-assisted oven) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, gently mix the lentils and the ingredients for the patties with a wooden spoon until well combined. Wet your hands and form 70g / 2 1/2 ounces patties. Heat a generous splash of olive oil in a heavy pan and fry the lentil patties for 2-3 minutes on medium on both sides until golden brown. You will have to fry them in batches. Transfer the patties onto the baking sheet and cook in the oven for 9 minutes.

Whip the ingredients for the dill sour cream until creamy and season to taste.

Spread a little rucola on each bottom side of the buns, lay 2 patties on top and drizzle some dill sour cream over the lentil burgers. Sprinkle with slices of preserved lemon and fresh dill. Enjoy!

Lentil Burger

 

Lentil Burger

 

Lentil Burger

Spicy Cumin Fennel Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Ricotta and Lemon

Spicy Cumin Fennel Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Lemon

A few days after we got home from our summer holidays, the two of us met in the kitchen late in the evening, not sure what to make for dinner. Usually, a night like this calls for pasta and a simple tomato sauce, but we were in the mood for more, we wanted some spices on our plates! A quick look in the fridge offered a bunch of cherry tomatoes, fresh ricotta and a jar full of my Moroccan preserved lemons. The parsley on the kitchen counter looked like it wouldn’t last much longer but the leaves were still crisp and green. We pulled out the mortar and the pan, heated up some olive oil and crushed a spoonful of black peppercorns and our Maltese fennel seeds. We cooked the spices with a pinch of cumin in the oil for just a minute to unfold their aromas. When their peppery smell filled the whole kitchen, we added the chopped lemons and cherry tomatoes. After 3 minutes it was all done, ready to be mixed with the spaghetti, some lumps of ricotta and the fresh parsley leaves.

It was great, spicy and fragrant, a delicious mixture of the Italian and Arabic cuisine. Unfortunately, we had forgotten about this dinner. It was quite late, we were tired and we went to bed straight after we savored this meal. Weeks later, I remembered our spontaneous cooking session but it took me a while to recapture the recipe. So here it is, we cooked it again and loved it just as much!

Spicy Cumin Fennel Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Lemon

 

Spicy Cumin Fennel Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Lemon

Spicy Cumin Fennel Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Ricotta and Lemon

For 2 people you need

spaghetti 200g / 7 ounces
cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quartered, 400g / 14 ounces
ricotta 125g / 4.5 ounces
Moroccan preserved lemon, chopped, 1/4 or the zest of 1/2 lemon
black peppercorns, lightly crushed in a mortar, 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons (depending on the spiciness you want to achieve)
fennel seeds, lightly crushed in a mortar, 1 teaspoon
cumin, a big pinch
salt
olive oil
parsley, the leaves of 1/2 small bunch

Cook the pasta al dente in lots of salted water.

In a large, heavy pan, heat a splash of olive oil and cook the spices on medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the lemon (preserved or zest) and cook for a few seconds before you stir in the tomatoes. Cook the tomatoes for 1-2 minutes until they start to soften and take the pan off the heat. Season with salt, mix in the spaghetti and top with ricotta and parsley.

Spicy Cumin Fennel Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Lemon

 

Spicy Cumin Fennel Spaghetti with Tomatoes and Lemon