I am OBSESSED with Moroccan flavours. The problem is that there’s absolutely no restaurant in Toronto that serves up homestyle Moroccan fare aside from tajines. Don’t get me wrong – I love tajines but I always end up caving and ordering a side of couscous or saffron rice to soak up the sauce. Because of this I’ve resorted to experimenting in the kitchen trying to achieve the same flavours found at community potlucks but without all the hands-on time.
Charmoula is a popular Moroccan marinade commonly used on fish but can be paired with other proteins as well. In traditional recipes a whole fish is marinated in the spice blend and baked alongside vegetables and topped with slices of lemon and tomato for upwards of an hour. ‘Aint nobody got time for that (although I do on weekends and it’s a-mazing). In my version, I tweaked the recipe so that dinner is on the table in 30 minutes flat.
In this recipe I used rainbow trout but a more delicate tasting fish would also go well with it. Serve with a fresh salad or simple cauliflower rice like I did. Use schmaltz to sauté it in to minimize caulifloweriness of the cauliflower, youknowwhatimean?
Ingredients for trout:
- 2 -3 rainbow trout fillets (approx. 8 ounces each), or 4-6 white fish fillets (approx. 3 ounces each
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil or other high heat cooking oil
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
Ingredients for charmoula:
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
- ½ cup water
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil or other high hear cooking oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon chilli pepper flakes (optional)
Collect all the ingredients for the charmoula and measure them all out.
Add all the ingredients to a blender and purée into a paste. Alternatively, you can mince the cilantro and garlic very finely and combine them with the rest of the ingredients.
Season your fish with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Get your two year old to stab it several time with a Fisher Price knife and squirt it with lemon(optional).
If using rainbow trout, spread two teaspoons of charmoula over top. With smaller fillets one teaspoon would be enough.
Set your oven rack to the middle position and turn on the broiler.
In an ovenproof pan or cast iron skillet on medium high heat with a tablespoon of avocado oil. When the oil is heated through add your fish skin-side-down and fry for 2 minutes to achieve crispy skin. Next, put the pan in the oven under the broil for 5 minutes (reduce the time with a smaller fillet).