Swordfish, Lamb or Chicken with Moroccan Spices & Preserved Lemon

Preserved Lemons from LaProvence

Preserved Lemons from LaProvence

By Cat, July 2010 (Photo, right, by Cat)

See also: 1. Lamb, Pork and Small Game Menu; 2. Poultry Menu; 3. Fish & Seafood Menu; 4. Mediterranean Menu; 5.  Moroccan-Style Chicken, with Couscous; 7. Preserved Lemons(About)

The summer of 2010, several local businesses in my local Montana community of Bigfork MT decided to have a public market in the village every Wednesday, featuring crafts and foods grown/made in our valley. One of those businesses was LaProvence, a wonderful French restaurant here, and sold vegetables from their farm, and items prepared in the restaurant, such as the jars of Preserved Meyer Lemons pictured right.

I bought a jar, curious about what it would taste like, and then looked up several recipes on the internet to get an idea of how to use this fermented food. This is the first recipe I tried, and discovered I love preserved lemons in recipes, and learned how to make (ferment) them myself.

NOTE: LaProvence is no longer in business, a victim of the great recession. The owners now manage a hotel restaurant in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Lamb, Chicken or Swordfish with Moroccan Spices & Preserved Lemon

This recipe is adapted from Helen Rennie’s recipe website: Swordfish with Moroccan Spices & Preserved Lemon (1), and serves 4. Swordfish is highly contaminated with mercury and other toxins, so should be avoided, or at least eaten rarely. But this recipe is so good that I think it would also be great using lamb or chicken. Another idea is to do a ‘mixed grill’ using a bit of chicken, lamb and swordfish.

Serve with couscous, as in the similar recipe from Food.com, Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons (2).

If using swordfish, remove skin; keep the skin-on for chicken. If you want a head-start, prepare the meat through searing (step 4); then allow seared meat to cool,  cover and store in refrigerator until ready to make the sauce.

The original recipe uses fresh lemon juice and preserved lemons. However, I think it’s better if you squeeze the juice from the preserved lemons, adding fresh lemon juice as needed to make 1 Tbsp. Then remove the pith of the preserved lemons, and slice its peel as instructed.

I’ve only tested this recipe with swordfish.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 1 pound swordfish steaks (skin removed), chicken breasts (skin on), or lamb steak (shoulder or leg), or
  • Spice mix:
  • 1 tsp each ground coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom & paprika (or 1 Tbsp garam masala plus 1 tsp paprika)
  • ½ tsp unrefined sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • Marinade:
  • 4 cloves garlic, mashed
  • ¼ tsp unrefined sea salt
  • ¼ – ½ preserved lemons, divided, plus fresh lemon juice as needed
  • ⅔ cup olive oil
  • Sauce and garnish:
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • unrefined sea salt, to taste
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • 1″ piece of fresh ginger root
  • ¼ preserved lemon
  • 1 ½ cups homemade chicken stock (or fish stock if using swordfish)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Equipment:
  • large bowl
  • large cast iron skillet
  • tongs


  1. If using chicken breast, brine for 30 minutes in refrigerator; rinse and pat dry.
  2. Combine spice mix in bowl. Cut meat into 1″ cubes, then toss in the spice mix until coated on all sides. Set aside.
  3. Marinade: Mince garlic; sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt, then press with blade of knife until liquifies. Transfer to large bowl.
  4. Squeeze juice from preserved lemon; remove pith and set peel aside for later. Add juice (plus enough fresh lemon juice to make 1 Tbsp) and oil to minced garlic. Toss seasoned meat cubes in this marinade until well coated; cover bowl and chill for 30 minutes.
  5. Sear Meat: Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Using tongs, pick up each cube of meat, shaking off excess marinade, and place into pan, without crowding (you may need to do 2 batches). Sear 1 minute on each side (4 minutes total). Remove to bowl. If residue in pan has burnt, wash pan. Reserve marinade.
  6. At this point, you can cool and transfer to refrigerator to use later, if desired.
  7. Sauce: Meanwhile, peel ginger and cut crosswise into very thin circles (1/16″ thick), then stack circles and cut them into very thin sticks. Rinse reserved lemon peel under warm water. Slice crosswise into 1/16″ thick slices.
  8. Set skillet over medium heat; when hot, add 1 Tbsp of reserved marinade, and diced onion. Season with salt and sugar, and saute until onion is soft and golden, about 9 minutes.
  9. Add ginger to the pan and saute until fragrant, 2 – 3 minutes. Add lemon and stock to pan; bring to a boil. Add meat and its juices back to the pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 5 more minutes, turning halfway through cooking time. Test one cube for desired doneness; chicken may need more time.
  10. Stir in cilantro and serve.

Assembly or Serving ideas

  • Serve with couscous or steamed quinoa, or steamed brown rice.


7/2/11: I bought some swordfish and wanted to marinate it in lime juice/olive oil, with some spices, but wasn’t sure what spices I wanted to use. And then I remembered this recipe. I followed, as written (cutting amounts in half because only 1/2 lb fish), except: used garam masala instead of individual spices, and eliminated the sauce. I just grilled the marinated fish. I forgot to record how it turned out, but if memory serves me well as I transfer this recipe to my new blog in 2015, it must have been delicious because I added the recipe to my old site.


  1. Helen Rennie’s Swordfish with Moroccan Spices & Preserved Lemon recipe helenrennie.com/recipes/fish/moroccan_swordfish.html
  2. Recipe Zaar (now Food.com), Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemons recipe (food.com/recipe/moroccan-chicken-with-preserved-lemons-and-couscous-120175

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