Katia Essyad cannot stress enough the importance of preserved lemons in Moroccan cuisine.
“The preserved lemons are like the Moroccan flag. Like the national anthem. It's so important to have preserved lemons in the house.”
Her company, Casablanca Market, employs female artisans in Fez and Marrakech to make traditional Moroccan preserved lemons like the ones her mother made.
“Every household has a jar of preserved lemons that they make their own way,” Essyad explains. “If you want them sooner, you can boil them—but my mother would say, 'No, we cannot just go the easy way.' We had lemons that grew up with us, that stayed with us for a couple of years in a jar.”
Casablanca Market Preserved Lemons are still made according to Essyad's mother's recipe, by aging whole Beldi lemons in barrels for one to two months with only water and sea salt before being hand-packed into jars. The briny, tart lemons have a more balanced flavor than other brands, with a tender texture that makes them easy to incorporate into recipes.