Mint chermoula recipe

By Martin Zibauer »Martin Zibauer

May 10th, 2010

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What’s with these rough winds shaking the darling buds of May? I’d planned to start this post with a “now that the weather is warm it’s time for green sauces” approach. I’ll have to recast it:

Now that the weather is cold again, bring back fond memories of spring warmth with the fresh, herby flavours of a green sauce. There are a lot to choose from: In its basic form, French persillade is one of the simplest, just finely chopped parsley and garlic; Italian gremolata adds lemon zest. Argentinian chimichurri usually combines parsley, oregano, garlic, oil and vinegar, plus something to give it a little heat. Green seasoning, a blend of herbs, celery leaves, onion, and vinegar, is a staple Caribbean marinade. North Africa has its own blend, chermoula, which accompanies fish, chicken, and kebabs. It’s rubbed on meat before grilling and added to Moroccan tagines (stews), and can be served as a side sauce. Chermoula is as flexible as my lede, and not nearly as clichéed.

A few years ago, I spent three weeks in Morocco. In Fes, I took a cooking class with Lahcen Beqqi, a local chef. We started the day in the market, picking up supplies for the class, including freshly butchered lamb, the best-looking artichokes I’ve ever seen, and saffron wrapped in little newsprint cones. This chermoula recipe is based on his; I added lemon zest and mint (after I took the ingredient shot above). I had a bunch of mint in the fridge, and since Moroccans drink mint tea all day long, I thought it would work in chermoula. It did. I rubbed about half this recipe on a spatchcocked chicken, which I grilled and served with extra chermoula on the side.

Mint Chermoula

Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup each finely chopped parsley, fresh coriander, and mint (125 ml each)
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup olive oil (125 ml)
1 tsp each paprika and ground cumin (5 ml each)
salt to taste

Mix all ingredients. Makes about 1 1/2 cups (375 ml).

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Martin Zibauer