In my fridge: Chermoula

This summer I’m teaching kids cooking classes during the day which means I’m beyond exhausted every evening. I have good intentions, but I have to admit after several hours of children with knives the thought of pulling together dinner makes me weary. However, I’m not succumbing to take-out or scampering off to the frozen food section – at least not yet.

This summer I’m relying on my grill to get quick, low-mess eats with great flavor. Little needs to be done to most meats on the grill, but it’s fun to spice things up with marinades, yummy salsas, or zesty rubs. Having these things on hand can make for quick and easy dinners. Take my recipe for summer peach salsa. It’s been one of my favorite go-to accompaniments this summer although it might be upstaged by this Moroccan chermoula.

Chermoula (also spelled charmoula) may not be the prettiest sauce, but what it lacks in looks it makes up for in flavor. Big and bold with an extra kick of spice if you’re game, chermoula would jazz up chicken or vegetables although in North African cuisine it’s traditionally paired with fish.

Simple to make, chermoula involves minimal prepping. Measure out a couple of ingredients and give everything a quick whir in a food processor, and you’ve got a good batch of this fragrant paste. Most recently, I smeared it over mahi-mahi and let it marinate for several hours while I taught a class. When I arrived home, it only took minutes to preheat the grill, throw some couscous together, and cook the chermoula-marinated fish. Served with a little extra chermoula on the side (I promise you won’t be satisfied with just using it as a marinade), it was a convenience dinner that I (and you!) could feel good about eating.

Grilled Fish with Moroccan Chermoula – Printer Friendly Recipe
Serves 4

4 (5-6 ounce) mahi-mahi fillets, skin removed
1/2 cup minced fresh flat leaf parsley
2/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons smoked paprika (use hot smoked paprika for an extra fiery kick)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 teaspoons cumin seeds
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons olive oil, more for brushing the grill
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)

Combine the parsley, cilantro, paprika, crushed red pepper flakes, cumin seeds, minced garlic, salt, olive oil and lemon juice in a small food processor or blender. Process until smooth.

Place the mahi-mahi fillets in a baking dish. Spoon 1/3 of the chermoula mixture over the fish fillets and rub it over both sides of the fillets. Reserve the remaining chermoula for serving. Marinate the fish in the refrigerator for at least thirty minutes. Remove the fish from the refrigerator and allow the fillets to sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.

Heat a grill or grill pan over medium high heat. Brush the grill with a little olive oil. Remove the fish fillets from the marinade and place them on the grill, presentation side-down. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Remove the mahi-mahi from the grill and serve immediately with the remaining chermoula.


  1. Absolutely. I know it may sound a little strange, but it’s ridiculously good. Definitely worth a try-out in your kitchen.


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