Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Let me tell you about chermoula. Chermoula is a Moroccan herb-spice-and-oil mixture rich with garlic, cumin, and fresh coriander. It's used mostly on fish--as both a marinade and a sauce--but can be used to enhance the general deliciousness of so many other dishes. Claudia Roden says that "every town, every family has its own special combination," so it ends up being both handy and adaptable. Seriously, google it. You'll get a lot of variations.

And so we made it last night. Everything seems a little different today. The sun, a little brighter. My husband, a little sweeter. My bike ride to work, a little less freezing. My tastebuds, well, they just want chermoula all the time. On everything.
Ok, maybe I exaggerate, but boy is this stuff good. I can think of so many meats and vegetables that this crazy good condiment would only enhance. Mix up a batch and try it. (You'll need a processor for this one.) Tell me what you use it on.

Pan-Cooked Fish with Chermoula
makes as many filets as you buy; extra sauce will keep in the fridge for a week or so; recipe from Roden's New Book of Middle Eastern Food

1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1/2 cup roughly chopped parsley
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp coriander
healthy pinch of chili powder
healthy pinch of salt
scant 1/4 cup lemon juice or wine vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil

1-2 white fish fillets; check the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch guide for good choices in your area
  1. Throw all ingredients (excepting the fish) in a food processor and blend till smooth. I must confess I did not actually measure the oil, so add more as needed to achieve a thick, but still fluid, consistency.
  2. Use half the mixture to marinate the fish for 30 minutes. Reserve the rest for pouring over cooked fillets.
  3. When ready to cook, film a skillet with olive oil and heat over medium-high. Place fish in hot skillet and don't touch it for 6-7 minutes. No fidgeting, no stirring. Carefully flip and cook 2-4 minutes on the other side, until fish is flaky. The general rule is about 10 minutes per inch of thickness, so adjust cooking time accordingly. Serve hot, drowned in more chermoula.

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