Monday, August 6, 2012

Your New Favorite Fish Sauce

I'm a late convert to eating fish. I grew up in a household that embraced seafood of all types, even anchovy pizza, but I was never able to get a taste for fish myself. However, as a naturopathic physician intent on eating a healthy diet, I've made a strong effort to start eating fish. Part of this effort has meant learning about the omega-3 content of fish, as well as mercury content of fish. However, it's also lead to a lot of experimentation with fish recipes, a process that I'd like to continue to bring to you blog readers.

Here's the latest, greatest fish recipe, featuring your favorite sauce you've never heard of: Chermoula.

Chermoula is a spicy, garlicky sauce from Morocco that is traditionally served on fish of all sorts - grilled, baked, fried, etc. It is a strong flavor to be sure, and it can overpower just about all other flavors, so use it wisely. I've become a great fan of it, but it's not well known here in the US, which is a shame.

Now without further ado, here it is:

2/3 cup of chopped cilantro
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/4 - 1/2 tsp ground chili pepper
6 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon or 3 tbsp wine vinegar

Combine them all in a food processor.

The sauce can be used as a marinade for grilled fish, or added afterwards. The easiest way to use the sauce for us grill-less apartment-dwellers is to pan-cook whole fish fillets in sauce - marinate the fish for 30 minutes, and then cook the filets on medium heat for 3-4 minutes a side.

Note: This recipe has been slightly adapted from Claudia Roden's excellent cook book, The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.