Tomatoes with Preserved Lemon and Pepper Relish

I’ve waxed poetic on the magic of ultra plump and juicy summer tomatoes before, and this dish is perfect for showcasing the bright, punchy flavor of the fruit at its finest. Salted tomatoes, swimming in a vinaigrette of their own juices, are topped with a piquant mixture of preserved lemon, roasted red peppers, pine nuts, capers, parsley, calabrian chilies, sherry vinegar, and shallots. The relish uses some of my favorite pantry staples, like preserved lemon, calabrian chilies, and roasted red peppers. Keep this relish recipe in your back pocket and use it to top grilled fish (like these grilled sardines) and meats.

How to use preserved lemon

Used commonly in North African and Indian cuisine, preserved lemons add wonderful salinity and acid to any dish. To make them yourself, simply submerge lemons in a salt and seasoning mixture for 30 days. During this time, the peels will soften and become delectably edible. Don’t have 30 days? Simply buy them pre-jared from your local store or online

When cooking with preserved lemon, simply remove a lemon from the jar and slice or mince the whole thing, skin and all. It’s OK if the lemons are a bit mushy and hard to handle, they may dissolve to a paste as you mince them. 

Sourcing other ingredients

This recipe utilized some of my favorite “have on hand” jarred ingredients. See below for links to buy my favorite brands. 

Tomatoes with Preserved Lemon and Pepper Relish

Recipe by Molly MossCourse: Appetizers, Sides, SaladsDifficulty: Easy


Total time



Salted tomatoes, swimming in a vinaigrette of their own juices, are topped with a piquant mixture of preserved lemon, roasted red peppers, pine nuts, capers, parsley, calabrian chilies, sherry vinegar, and shallots.


  • 1 tbsp minced shallot

  • ¼ cup minced jarred roasted red pepper, Divina brand recommended

  • ⅛ cup minced preserved lemon

  • 1 tbsp crushed calabrian chili paste

  • 1.5 tbsp toasted pine nuts

  • ½ cup minced parsley

  • ½ tbsp capers, minced

  • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar

  • 3 tbsp good quality olive oil, plus more for drizzling

  • 2.5 pounds mixed summer tomatoes, you can use a combination of sizes and colors

  • Salt and pepper


  • In a small bowl, combine the minced shallot, roasted red pepper, preserved lemon, pine nuts, calabrian chili paste, parsley, and capers. Stir to combine.
  • Add the sherry vinegar and the olive oil and stir to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Feel free to follow your instincts for the flavor of the relish. Want more acid? Add more vinegar or capers. Want less acid? Add more olive oil.
  • Cut the tomatoes into halves or smaller pieces for larger tomatoes and place in a large bowl. Salt VERY generously (more than you think you would need) and let sit five minutes.
  • After 5 minutes, drizzle in a generous amount of olive oil, so that all of the tomatoes are coated.
  • Pour the tomatoes onto a serving dish or into a large serving bowl. Scatter the relish over the tomatoes, you may not need all of the relish, use your own judgement.
  • Drizzle with extra olive oil and top with crunchy sea salt and freshly ground pepper.


  • Hondashi is an instant dashi product. Traditionally ponzu steeps with bonito and kombu (the ingredients in dashi). Use hondashi for a shortcut. You can buy hondashi online here.
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