Charmoula (a Moroccan herb sauce) is truly amazing! Packed-with fresh herb flavor, the umami of anchovies, and the bite of garlic and cayenne, it’s all you need to make the ordinary taste extraordinary.
This recipe is based on the recipe, Green Charmoula, in the New Moroccan cookbook by Murad Lahlou.
Note: I add dry ground or finely chopped fresh turmeric (and freshly ground black pepper) wherever I can. Turmeric is so healthy! So why not add it?! And, I always add black pepper too, because black pepper greatly enhances the body’s ability to absorb turmeric. After all, if you don’t absorb turmeric, you can’t benefit from it.
Note: I love Charmoula and keep playing with this recipe. So the recipe you see here may change from time to time.
2 cups very tightly packed fresh cilantro (thick stems removed)
1/2 cup very tightly packed cup fresh Italian parsley (most of the stems removed)
1-2 tablespoons diced preserved lemon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 ounces anchovy fillets (drained and rinsed briefly under cold water)
7 cloves garlic (peeled and stem ends removed)
1/4 cup capers (drained)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4-6 ounces frozen artichoke hearts
Comments about ingredients:
Preserved lemon: The chart at the top of this post lists preserved lemon rind but I have since found that I prefer to use the whole preserved lemon – rind and pulp – without the seeds. If you don’t have preserved lemon, you could use some lemon zest (from organic lemon) plus a bit more lemon juice, to taste.
Artichoke hearts: I have made this Charmoula many times, but recently when I tasted the final result, the preserved lemon was overpowering and the sauce was thinner than usual. For inspiration on how to doctor up the charmoula that was staring at me from my food processor, I turned to my earlier post, How to Create Fabulous Fresh Herb Sauces and chose artichoke hearts from the list of possible thickeners. So I grabbed a bag of Trader Joe’s frozen Artichoke Hearts; cooked them according to package directions; added some cooked artichoke hearts to the food processor and gave it a whirle. Wow, the result was fantastic – better than ever! From now on, I’m making Charmoula with artichoke hearts!!!
FOOD SAFETY TIP – Before you head to your kitchen, please read this Food Safety Tip! When you combine garlic and oil, you create an environment in which botulism (a deadly food-born bacteria) can grow. According to the University of Colorado Extension Service, to prevent the possible growth of botulism when mixing oil and garlic, you should always “add an acidifying agent such as lemon juice or vinegar to the recipe at the rate of one tablespoon per cup of oil.” Also you should “discard infusions after one week, or sooner if apparent cloudiness, gas bubbles, or foul odor develop
Blender: Place all ingredients into a powerful blender (such as a Vitamix or Blendtec) and process to desired consistency.
Food processor: Place all ingredients, except the extra virgin olive oil, into the work bowl of a food processor fitted a metal blade and start to process. While the food processor blade is turning, pour the olive oil into the work bowl and process to desired consistency.
- Refrigerate: Cover and refrigerate for up to a week.
- Freeze: A great way to store extra fresh herb sauce (or for that matter, leftover portions of any liquid) is to freeze it in silicone muffin pans. For details, see the post, Silicone Muffin Pans – a Kitchen Staple – but not for baking!
MANY WAYS TO USE CHARMOULA!
- Serve charmoula with fish, pork, lamb, or chicken that’s baked, broiled, or sauted.
- Mix charmoula with chopped organic spinach (I use frozen spinach). Serve with eggs in the morning!
- Mix with canned tuna or salmon and plenty of diced celery and onions. Makes a really sophisticated fish salad (sans mayo).
- Stuff charmoula under the skin of chicken before cooking! Then pass the charmoula at the table.
- Saute fish, for example monkfish, in olive oil, and then add charmoula during the last minute of cooking. Pass the charmoula at the table.
- Add olive oil and fresh lemon juice to charmoula for a great salad dressing.
- Mix charmoula with mashed avocado for a sensational dip.
- Mix charmoula with bite-size pieces of cooked new potato for a great potato salad.
- Mix charmoula with chopped salad of your favorite veggies plus some fresh mozzarella cut into bite-size pieces.
- And here’s yet another way to use charmoula: Mix charmoula into an unalted chicken or vegetable stock, add some cooked veggies, and you have a fabulous fresh herb soup! Serve hot or cold.
Other fresh herb sauces / pestos found on this blog:
GET CREATIVE AND INVENT YOUR OWN FRESH HERB CHUTNEY, SAUCE, or PESTO!
Enjoy and be healthy,