Credit: Christopher HirsheimerHere's how to prepare special ingredients called for in many Moroccan dishes.
PRESERVED LEMONS Wash 4 large thin-skinned lemons. Quarter, leaving lemons attached at stem end. Pack coarse salt into lemons (using about 1/2 cup). Fit lemons into a 1-quart jar, add 2 cups fresh lemon juice (from about 6 lemons), and cover. Macerate in a cool, dark place for 1 week, then refrigerate. Preserved lemons will keep (refrigerated) for at least 6 months.
PITTED OLIVES An olive pitter is the usual tool for preparing these, but there is a low-tech trick that's faster: Place olives on a clean surface, then press on each one with the side of a heavy knife blade. The olive will pop open, and the pit can easily be removed and discarded.
CLARIFIED BUTTER Cut up 2 sticks of butter and place in a small pan. Melt butter over low heat. Skim off foam, then carefully pour clear yellow (clarified) butter into a bowl and discard milky solids remaining in pan. Makes 3/4 cup.