- Skill Level: Easy
- Cost: Moderate
- Favorited: 25 Times
Can be made ahead of time.
Charmoula (sometimes spelled chermoula) is a signature sauce in the Moroccan kitchen. Aromatic spices such as cumin, sweet paprika, and black or hot pepper are combined with chopped parsley, cilantro, and garlic in a base of olive oil, with either lemon juice or vinegar as the acid component. There are many different versions of this traditional sauce. Some have sweet spices such as cinnamon and ginger, and some include saffron. Others have grated onion or slivers of preserved lemon. Charmoula is most often used as a marinade for fish, poultry, and lamb.
Charmoula is incredibly versatile. Just like the Moroccans, we can use it as a marinade for fish, poultry, and lamb. It can be a finishing sauce and can be spooned over grilled fish or shellfish or stirred into fish soup for an herbal jolt. As a dressing, it is excellent on grilled vegetables, bean salads, potato salads, grain salads, and couscous salads. For the acid factor, I usually opt for lemon juice, but if the lemons are mild and you want greater acidity to set off the spices, add some red wine vinegar.
Mix the lemon juice, garlic, paprika, cumin, and cayenne in a mixing bowl until smooth. Whisk in the parsley, cilantro, and olive oil. Taste and add more oil if necessary and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle in a little preserved lemon if you like.
Charmoula citrus dressing: Make the charmoula, then add more lemon juice to thin it to the consistency of a dressing.
Nutritional information is based on 32 servings, and includes 1/2 teaspoon of added salt.