Preserved Lemon Sauces

by Cat, Sept 2013

Preserved Lemons from LaProvence

Preserved Lemons from LaProvence


Preserving lemons with salt is a great way to keep them through the off-season when fresh lemons are no longer available. See Preserved Lemons (Lacto-Fermented) for method.

Once preserved in this way, they are delicious in many recipes that call for fresh lemon. The sauces that follow are a perfect example. See below for more recipes on my site that use preserved lemons.

  • Includes: 1.  Preserved Lemon Sauce (Chermoula); 2. Preserved Lemon Butter Sauce with Capers; 3. Preserved Lemon Sauce with Olives and Tarragon. 
  • See also bottom of page for more recipes on my site that use preserved lemons.

Preserved Lemon Sauce (Chermoula)

This recipe is adapted from Suite 101, Moroccan Food: Moroccan Marinade Chermoula with Preserved Lemon for fish or chicken. This sauce can be used as a marinade, sauce, or dipping sauce. Some dishes, such as filet of sole with preserved lemon butter sauce work best with a lighter-flavor sauce (without the spices); see below.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 1/2 preserved lemon
  • 3 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, or small shallot, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin (optional)
  • 1 tsp hot paprika (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • small bowl


  1. Rinse half of a preserved lemon, then chop finely both the rind and the flesh; transfer to small bowl.
  2. Chop parsley and cilantro; mince garlic/shallot, and add to chopped lemon along with optional spices, lemon juice and olive oil
  3. Reserve part of the chermoula for dipping or serving (if desired). Spread chermoula on top of raw chicken or fish. Marinate overnight for chicken, or an hour for fish or veggies.


Preserved Lemon Butter Sauce with Capers

This version is from filet of sole with preserved lemon butter sauce. I’m not big on sole, but the sauce sounds great! Would be great with chicken or halibut and spinach.

When made with sole, the fish is cooked in a hot skillet with 1/4 cup oil, then the fish is removed and the sauce is made in the same oil. I don’t know how much of the oil is left in the pan….so I”m assuming 1 – 2 Tbsp oil to saute the shallots and garlic.

Best with a lighter-flavor sauce (without the spices); see below.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 1/2 preserved lemon
  • 2 medium shallots, minced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp light olive oil
  • Unrefined sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp dry white wine (vermouth)
  • 1/2 cup fish or chicken stock.
  • 1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 cup capers, chopped
  • fresh lemon
  • heavy-bottomed sauté pan


  1. Rinse half of a preserved lemon, pat dry with paper towel, then discard the pulp. Slice peel into thin strips; set aside.
  2. Mince shallots and onions, then saute 1- minute in oil in heavy-bottomed pan, over medium heat, adding a pinch of Celtic sea salt.
  3. Add preserved lemon rind strips and wine. Cook until reduced and pan is almost dry. Add stock and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Add butter, a few bits at a time, whisking constantly to emulsify.
  4. Turn off heat, add chives, capers and a few drops of lemon juice. Serve immediately.

Preserved Lemon Sauce with Olives & Tarragon

This recipe is adapted from Food and Wine: Artichoke and Ricotta Dumplings, with Preserved Lemon Sauce. I was looking for a butter sauce using preserved lemons, and this sauce looks interesting (the dumplings do not interest me). Depending on the recipe the sauce is to accompany, you may not want all the extra ingredients (shallots, olives, tarragon, roasted peppers, tarragon). You may want to use different herbs, such as thyme.

Nicoise olives may be hard to find. Greek olives are a reasonable substitute.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 1/2 small red bell pepper
  • 1/2 small yellow bell pepper
  • 1/4 preserved lemon
  • about 2 Tbsp filtered water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, in pieces
  • 2 Tbsp shallots, very finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Nicoise olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp chives, minced
  • 1 tsp chopped tarragon
  • gas flame or broiler
  • small saucepan


  1. Cut peppers in half; remove pith and seeds from one half of each red and yellow pepper. Roast over a gas flame or under broiler, skin side up, until nicely charred. Transfer to bowl, cover with lid or plastic wrap and let cool. Remove peel. Cut into /4″ dice or smaller.
  2. Rinse preserved lemon; Squeeze juice and measure, adding enough water to make 2 Tbsp liquid and place in saucepan. Discard lemon pulp, and slice peel very thinly, and add to saucepan.
  3. Add oil & vinegar, and boil over moderately high heat, until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter, 1 piece at a time.
  4. Stir in shallots, olives, parsley, chives, tarragon and roasted peppers; adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Keep warm.


More Recipes using Preserved Lemons 

On Cat’s Kitchen:

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