Salad of mató with preserved lemons

Salad of mató with preserved lemons

By
From
Catalonia
Serves
4
Photographer
Laura Edwards

I always thought that preserved lemons were from North Africa, and were perhaps introduced to Catalonia by the Moors, but have since discovered that it was very common to make them here long before they arrived.

Feel free to preserve more than two lemons as they keep for a long time and are great for salads or even for some fish stews. You can add them at the end and they will raise the stew to the next level – if you like lemons, of course!

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 lemons
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons flaky sea salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 whole red chilli
2-3 sprigs lemon verbena or lemon thyme
handful baby salad leaves
150g fresh raw peas
1 bunch asparagus, shaved into thin ribbons with a potato peeler
30g shaved hard catalan or manchego cheese

for the mató

Quantity Ingredient
1 litre unpasteurised whole milk
1 lemon, juiced

Method

  1. To make the mató, heat the milk in a saucepan until it comes to the boil. Gradually add the lemon juice, a little at a time, until the milk starts to curdle and separate. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the curds into a fine sieve lined with muslin set over a bowl. If the water in the pan is still cloudy and not fully separated you can bring to the boil again and add a liltte more lemon juice to get all the curds.
  2. Leave the mató to drain overnight so that only the curds are left in the muslin.
  3. Pare the lemons and put the zest in a sterilised Kilner jar. Remove the pith from the lemons then cut out the wedges and add to the jar. Pour in the extra virgin olive oil and add the sugar, salt, peppercorns, chilli and lemon verbena. Shake gently to dissolve the sugar then leave for at least a couple of hours or for up to a week.
  4. To assemble the salad, toss the leaves with the peas and asparagus. Scatter over the mató, hard cheese shavings and some of the preserved lemon segments. Drizzle with the preserving oil and serve.
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