Yield: 4 servings
Time: 45 minutes
Chermoula is a fresh and spicy marinade and sauce. Morocco’s national sauce imparts a distinctive flavor to fish, meat, and vegetables. It appears every town and family has its own special recipe. Chermoula can be made well in advance and kept in the fridge. Using preserved lemons gives this dish the typical Moroccan flavor.
I use this dish either as an appetizer, perhaps with some pita bread, or as a side dish for grilled fish or chicken.
- 2 medium eggplants (aubergines)
- coarse salt
- olive oil to brush eggplant slices
- preserved lemons, thinly sliced (optional)
- 1 cup (about 20 g) cilantro (fresh coriander leaves) and tender stems finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground chili pepper
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) extra virgin olive oil
Cut eggplants lengthwise into 3/8 inch (1 cm) slices. Sprinkle both sides with coarse salt. Set on kitchen paper for 30 minutes to draw the juices. After 30 minutes, pat them dry and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
Brush eggplant slices with olive oil and lay them side by side on a baking sheet. Bake until golden about 25 minutes or until fork tender.
In the meantime prepare the Chermoula sauce. Mix all ingredients and set aside. If Chermoula seems too thick, thin it up with a bit olive oil or lemon juice to your liking.
When baking time is over, remove eggplants from oven and set aside to cool. Arrange eggplant slices on a serving plate and drizzle them with Chermoula and garnish with thinly sliced preserved lemon slices. Keeping it in the fridge for a day intensifies the flavor.