Chermoula. I like to think of it as Moroccan Pesto. Brimming with the bold flavours of the Middle East it certainly packs a vibrant punch. Take some coriander, mint and parsley. Pound together with chilli, garlic, ginger, cumin, paprika, turmeric and saffron. Add a little salted preserved lemon for even more zing and zest.
It takes less than five minutes to throw together in a food processor, is wildly versatile and it keeps for a week or two in the refrigerator. Even longer in the freezer.
Traditionally used with seafood it also works beautifully as a marinade to enhance the flavour of chicken, lamb and grilled or roasted vegetables. Think eggplant, zucchini, capsicum, cauliflower, onion, sweet potato and pumpkin. Delicious forked through couscous, its gluten free cousin quinoa or any array of beans and pulses to create a tasty salad. Combine with pureed tomatoes and it transforms into a spicy sauce. The possibilities are endless.
My personal favourites? Its a toss up between chermoula spiced grilled prawns or lamb back straps on the barbecue. Closely followed by oven roasted chermoula salmon fillets en papillote.
Chermoula With Preserved Lemon
Makes 1 cup
1/2 bunch coriander leaves and tender stems only, well washed
1/2 bunch mint leaves, well washed
1/2 bunch flat leaf Italian parsley leaves and tender stems only, well washed
4 long green spring onions,chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 long red chilli, roughly chopped
big pinch of saffron
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons sea salt flakes
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly roasted
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly roasted
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 preserved lemon, roughly chopped
COMBINE all ingredients in a food processor, spice grinder, or mortar and pestle. Process or pound to a rough paste.
IF making the chermoula ahead of time, transfer it to an airtight container and pour a thin layer of olive oil on the top. Seal and place in the fridge.