Escarole and sunchoke salad with preserved lemon and smoked almonds

Escarole and sunchoke salad with preserved lemon and smoked almonds (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times / August 26, 2012)


Total time: 40 minutes (plus 1 month if making homemade preserved lemons)

Servings: 4

Note: Adapted from Travis Lett of Gjelina. Preserved lemons also can be purchased at Middle Eastern markets, select specialty food stores and well-stocked grocers. Small hardwood hickory chips are required to smoke the almonds on the stovetop; they are available at select cooking supply stores and online. Butter lettuce or endive can be substituted for the escarole.

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Preserved lemons

1 cup kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon crushed bay leaf

6 to 8 lemons

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1. In a bowl, mix the salt, coriander, black pepper, thyme and crushed bay leaf. Set aside.

2. Leaving the base of the lemons intact, cut the lemons in quarters lengthwise (do not cut all the way through). Place a couple of tablespoons of the salt mixture at the bottom of a sterile 1-quart glass jar. Add the lemons, firmly pressing them into the jar and layering plenty of the salt mixture in between the lemons. Fill to the top of the jar and top with the white wine vinegar. Tightly close the jars and store in the refrigerator for 1 month, or until the lemons are soft and fully submerged in a lemony brine.

Salad assembly

1 cup raw almonds (skin on)

2 tablespoons small hardwood (very fine) hickory chips

6 cups (about 1 bunch) escarole (pale crunchy hearts only)