When you make your own citrons confits (preserved lemons), an indispensable ingredient in French-speaking North Africa and throughout the eastern Mediterranean, you come to better understand one of the most powerful flavorings in our cuisine. Like all preserves, lemons need time to develop their flavor, which is very different from the lemon zest that I have often seen as a substitute in recipes. If you are in an absolute hurry to have a sneak preview of your preserved lemons’ flavor while they slowly ferment in the salty juices, make Salt- and Olive Oil-Marinated Lemon Slices.
To use preserved lemons, cut strips of the rind and rinse them under cold running water. Most of the flesh will wash off. Add ½ teaspoon of the brine to dressings, sauces, stews, and marinades in place of salt.