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Every winter I order up a large box of Meyer lemons from California. I make marmalade, lemonade concentrate and a big jar of salt-preserved lemons. I spread the marmalade on toast, drizzle the lemonade concentrate into glasses of sparkling water and stare at the preserved lemons, wondering what the heck to do with them.
And so I search out recipes that feature these lemons. I make a few tagines (a traditional use for these salty preserved lemons). I whiz a few slivers into hummus. And I blend up a creamy salad dressing to eat with tomatoes and avocado. Still, there are more preserved lemons to eat.
Because I always have a jar of these lemons in my fridge just begging to be used, any time I spot a recipe that includes them, I sit up and take notice. The recipe that most recently caught my eye was Ina Garten’s Striped Bass and Preserved Lemon Dressing With Grilled Carrots. It’s a gorgeously simple preparation. The fish is pan-roasted, then settled on top of a sunny pool of dressing that’s made from preserved lemons, mayonnaise and vinegar. It’s fresh tasting and the perfect thing for these summer Weekenders.
Before you start cooking, read these tips:
— The cooking instructions for this recipe might sound a little fussy, but because striped bass fillets are often quite thick, they ensure that you get the perfect temperature through to the center of the fish.
— There’s one flaw with this recipe and that’s the quantity of Preserved Lemon Dressing it makes. You really need only a few spoonfuls for the portion of fish you’re instructed to make. There are two solutions: Reduce the amount of dressing you make or start putting it on everything. I cut the recipe in half and still had plenty to drizzle over salads later in the week. It’s also dreamy with grilled chicken.
— And if you’re concerned about ensuring you buy only sustainable fish, there’s good news here. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch rates Atlantic-caught striped bass as a best choice.
Marisa McClellan is a food writer and canning teacher who lives in Center City Philadelphia. Find more of her food (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at her blog, Food in Jars. Her first cookbook, Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round, is now available.