Sunday, March 4, 2012

Quick Preserved Kumquats - When Life Gives you Kumquats and Not Lemons...

This is the tabouli-ish salad I made using the quick preserved kumquats
Nagami Kumquats
I've run out of my preserved lemons and I am sad but I cheered up when I read the article, Preserved Lemons Brighten a Stir-Fry by Melissa Clerk at the NYTimes online site. Ms. Clark is spot-on when she writes, "A jar of preserved lemons sitting in the fridge is a boon for the busy cook. Chopped up and tossed into salads, stews and sautés, they add a bright, nuanced burst of flavor in one speedy step — as long as you happen to have some on hand."

True, dat. It's also true that the quick preserve method doesn't give you the same complex flavor as true preserved lemons, but this method provides a good substitute when necessary. Or you have some Nagami kumquats

Her recipe calls for 1 1/2 Meyer lemons, but I had a few of the Nagami kumquats and a plan to make a kind-of-a-tabouli salad and figured I'd give Ms. Clark's method a try. I love kumquats to eat out of hand, but I prefer the Miewa kumquats that I get from Will's Avocado's at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market which, while still tart inside, have a sweeter rind.

The Nagami's would make an awesome marmalade but for me, one or two eaten raw is my limit (Hmm... Shaker Kumquat Pie, anyone?). I eat the Miewas seeds and all but for this recipe, I de-seeded them as they would be used in a salad. Getting rid of the seeds is a bit fussy but since I wasn't working with too many, I didn't mind.


adapted from: "Preserved Lemons Brighten a Stiry-Fry" and "Sauteed Chicken with Meyer Lemon and Rosemary, by Melissa Clark on the NYTimes online site. The quick preserve method (using Meyer lemons) is in the chicken recipe.

Makes between 1/2 and 1 cup

  • 15-20 tart/sour kumquats - like Nagami.
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 small or 1/2 large bay leaf
  • water
  • Trim or pick off the little green stems, slice the kumquats in half lengthwise and then  cross-wise in 1/4" slices. Remove the seeds.
  • Bring a small pot (a 1 1/2 qt sauce pan works for this) to a boil. Add the kumquat slices and then lower the heat so that the water is simmering and cook for 5 minutes. Strain the kumquats and run a little cold water over them.
  • Rinse out your pot and add 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 small (or 1/2 large) bay leaf and bring to a boil.
  • Add the blanched kumquat slices, stir once, reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Strain under cold water and shake the strainer to remove all of the liquid. Pat dry.

Note: Today I used in the tabouli-ish salad. These should be used soon after they're ready but I'm sure they'd be fine in the refrigerator for a day if necessary. Ms. Clark's chicken recipe looks tasty, too. In a pinch, these quick preserved kumquats (or lemons) can be used where any preserved lemon is called for, or wherever your imagination takes you..

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