Secrets of a Tagine – Preserved lemons

A Moroccan tagine is a centrepiece of a Marrakech dining table. With layers of flavour which are a delight. Achieving some of these special culinary taste sensations is a combination of a masterly and accomplished chef and some time honoured recipes using wonderful ingredients. Ingredients which may be unfamiliar to some of us.
A key ingredient to many tasty tagines is the preserved lemon. Preserving seasonal produce is an important element of Moroccan culture and brings food security along with tasty and culturally important flavours.
Locally grown, fresh,organic, unwaxed lemons are preserved in large, clean, sealed glass jars. The lemons are scored deeply often in cross patterns creating segments. A little of the juice from each lemon is squeezed into the preserving jar. The cavity inside the lemon is then stuffed with as much sea salt as possible. The lemons are next packed tightly within the jar, leaving as little space as is possible. The sealed filled jars are stored for a least a month in a dark cool place. During storage the lemons break down and become soft and brown. They are then used in tagines , especially ones with chicken and olives! Delicious! Nothing gets wasted and the preserving liquid makes a great basis for marinades and salad dressings.

If you are staying with us in Marrakech ask our staff to prepare a tagine for you, or better still ask about lessons in our cooking school and take the flavours of Morocco home to your dining table too!