Thanks to one of my favorite local chefs, Dan Esses, I've recently become infatuated with Chermoula, a very versatile spice paste used in Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian cooking. In its most basic form it is a combination of parsley, coriander, onion and garlic. It's deliciously fragrant and fresh tasting and is usually used as a compliment to fish, although I'm finding you can use it on just about anything! Chermoula can be used as a marinade, dressing, dip and use it on meats, fish, roasted veggies, salad....you get the idea!
Here's a basic Chermoula recipe:
* 1 bunch cilantro (coriander), finely chopped
* 4 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
* 2 tablespoons paprika
* 1 tablespoon cumin
* 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
* 1/2 teaspoon red pepper
* 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
* 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
* juice of 1 lemon
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
Most recently I roasted 2 lbs of eggplant, caramelized a sweet vidalia onion, boiled 2 potatoes and threw them in the food processor with the Chermoula to make a thick spread. I went to Nor-Joe's off of Metairie Road for a can of roasted piquillo (another new obsession thanks to Dan!) and stuffed the eggplant spread in the sweet little peppers. I also got some pine nuts there and toasted those, crushed them and used them as a garnish with fresh cilantro. This was my offering for our DC-10 dinner featuring "weird wines" where I paired it with a Negroamaro from Puglia, the Tormaresca Masseria Maime. Amazing wine, pretty decent pairing and the dish got rave reviews!
Next I'm thinking of using it as a marinade for a nice piece of fish, served over some red quinoa...you can make up a batch of the Chermoula and keep it in the refrigerator for about a week and put it on everything!