Chermoula is a marinade made with herbs and spices that is very popular in Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. The basic ingredients for chermoula are olive oil, garlic and coriander. In Morocco parsley, cumin and paprika are also added and the marinade is used to coat seafood or fish before grilling. If you don’t have an outdoor BARBEQUE at your disposal, you can make this recipe in an oven instead. Vegetarians find chermoula a delicious addition to roasted or grilled vegetables. For a more intense flavour to the chermoula you can add puréed onions, chilli peppers and even saffron. Do experiment with what you like!
One large bunch coriander
One small bunch parsley
Six-eight cloves garlic, finely chopped
One third of a cup of olive oil
One tablespoon paprika (smoked paprika works very well or you can use plain)
One tablespoon paprika
One teaspoon salt
Good grinding of black pepper
Pinch saffron threads, soaked in hot water and cooled
Juice of one large lemon
Purée all the ingredients together in a food processor. The chermoula should be thick and creamy in consistency. You can store the chermoula in the fridge for up to one week in a sealed container.
Rub the chermoula all over a large fish such as whole cod, coley, haddock or pollack. Make sure the fish has been thoroughly descaled before you begin. White fish works best for this recipe although you may want to experiment using a large whole salmon. Using a sharp knife, make deep incisions along the length of the fish. Rub the chermoula into these incisions. Place a good dollop of the chermoula into the fish cavity as well. Lay the fish in a baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Bake in a preheated very hot oven (220 degrees C) for one hour (smaller fish such as whole mackerel, plaice, halibut, bream, mullet, will take much less time and should be ready in twenty minutes). Serve the fish whole at the table allowing guests to help themselves to the succulent flesh.
For a quick mid week supper, you can use fillets of your favourite fish. Drizzle the chermoula over the fillets, cover with foil and bake for twenty minutes (at 220 degrees C).
Boiled new potatoes or couscous go particularly well with this recipe.
Instead of fish, why not try this vegetarian option.
Roasted vegetables with chermoula
One medium courgette, cut into quarters lengthways
Three bell peppers, of different colours, deseeded and cut unto quarters
One bunch asparagus
One medium aubergine, sliced into thick rounds
One large onion, peeled and cut into quarters and layers separated
Place all the vegetables onto a baking tray. Season with a pinch of salt, black pepper and a small amount of olive oil. Toss the vegetables well to coat with the oil. If liked, add a few sprigs rosemary or thyme to the vegetables. Place in a medium oven (170 degrees C) and roast uncovered for around 40 minutes until the vegetables are beginning to brown at the edges and have wilted. You may want to check the vegetables a few times during cooking and toss them occasionally.
Serve the vegetables warm with small bowls of the chermoula on the side.