Chermoula-roasted halibut

13 October 2010

One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish.
Two fish, three fish, blue fish, green fish.
Green fish?
Oh me! Oh my!
One of them is not like the others,
But don’t ask us why.
Go ask your mothers.

I love Dr. Seuss, even if I can’t do parody. Sigh.

Chermoula-roasted halibut

Chermoula is a North African condiment used primarily as a marinade for fish and vegetables. The suggested preparation below (which is fairly typical–there are tons of recipes out there) makes about 1 cup of the stuff, which can be stored in the refrigerator for at least a few days, longer if you put a thin film of oil on top to help preserve it. I like it on the requisite roasted fish and vegetables, of course, but also tossed into couscous, on toast with a bit of fresh cheese, thinned out with a bit more oil, tossed with salad greens, and and and. I could go on forever. It’s very good.

For the fish:  halibut or some other meaty white fish, .25-.3 lbs/100-150 g per person

For the chermoula: 1 bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems only  |  ½ bunch parsley, leaves and tender stems only  |  2 tsp cumin seeds  |  1 tsp paprika  |  2 cloves garlic  |  ½ cup olive oil  |  juice from ½ lemon  |  salt + pepper

Make the chermoula:  Toast cumin seeds in a small frying pan over medium low heat for a couple of minutes, until they are fragrant.  If you don’t have a mortar + pestle or coffee grinder for grinding them yourself, don’t worry, but do use whole seeds in lieu of the pre-ground stuff.  Buzz everything together in a food processor.  You may not need all the olive oil and/or lemon juice.  Just add until you are happy with the consistency and flavor.

Heat oven to 450 F/230 C.  Spoon some of the charmoula over the fish and toss with your hands.  Let marinate for no longer than 20 minutes, or else the acid in the vinegar and lemon will ‘cook’ the fish and you will have ceviche, which is not the desired result.

When the oven is hot, place fish skin side down on a roasting pan and roast until done.  10 minutes per inch of thickness is a good rule of thumb.  In the case of the hefty filet pictured (about .3 lbs), this took about 14 minutes.

Serve with additional chermoula on the side, some couscous, and perhaps a carrot salad.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike October 14, 2010 at 05:23

I think you need a little green eggs and ham. That should be your next entry.


me October 14, 2010 at 09:17

Love that idea! But does the ham have to be green, too?

Mike October 17, 2010 at 10:50

According to Dr. Suess: yes


me October 17, 2010 at 19:53

Hm. Green meat. Sounds mildly unappealing, though I do love the idea of fiction-inspired food. I’ll see what I can do!

flo hope October 18, 2010 at 16:29

Hey! This sounds so good. I may do it for my bookclub dinner thursday night. Do you think someone like your mother would eat this fish?


me October 18, 2010 at 17:55

Why thank you, Aunt Flo Hope! I think roasted fish is okay with Mama. And I know she loves salmon… Maybe a version with salmon would work? I think the flavors would be okay together, though you may know more about this than I do… I hope you and she like it!

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