At Rioja, executive chef and co-owner Jennifer Jasinski punches up flavor with preserved lemons that she prepares herself. Here’s how.
1) Starting at the stem end of 14 lemons, cut a long X into each one, stopping just short of the bottom so that the fruit stays intact.
2) Combine 1 cup kosher salt and 1¼ cups sugar in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle the mixture into the cuts on each lemon. Place the seasoned lemons in a large container. Top with the remaining salt and sugar. Submerge the lemons in water. Cover the container tightly.
3) Refrigerate. As the lemons preserve, they release their water, which makes a briny solution. Every couple of weeks, stir the fruit to disseminate the salt and sugar. Use after a minimum of eight weeks for the best flavor.