Recipe: Grilled Sardines with Almond Chermoula
We loved Fez…the medina, the hills, the ‘new’ city. And the riads. Best thing I can tell you is to walk the medina daily, and when you see construction, linger. Wait a few minutes and when the inevitable thrice hourly delivery arrives, ask to peek around.
Everyone is friendly, they love to show you how the local artisans restore thousand year old homes, oases of tranquility, serving the best foods in the city. Check out Riad Laaroussa’s website, it’s my choice for where to stay, and the food is superb. Watch the show, the bistilla was made in their kitchen.
Here is an amazingly easy and simple fish dish that reminds me of the best of Moroccan cuisine. Fez is not on the coast, and fish is virtually unseen at mealtimes, but this should make a nice dinner for you while you watch our show. The foods of Fez are extraordinary, with insane layers of flavor created by marrying smart cooking with the best ingredients. That’s true of most North African cuisine… You can use this technique on any fish, big or small, even a walleye from the lake or a porgy from the channel. Enjoy, and watch the new Bizarre Foods: Morocco show tonight at 9pm E/P on Travel Channel.
Grilled Sardines with Almond Chermoula
12 fresh sardines, cleaned, heads on…if sardines are not available, try small red mullet, mackerel or trout.
3 cups fresh cilantro leaves
1 large handful mint leaves
1/2 cup toasted almonds
3 plump garlic cloves
A few pinches hot ground red chile, don’t be afraid of the heat!
1 cup olive oil
3T lime juice, more or less to taste
1/2 cup raisins, coarsely chopped
1/2t saffron mixed into 2T water
1 small onion minced fine
Place the onion, raisins, saffron and half the almonds into a large bowl and set aside.
Puree the remaining ingredients and cut 3 slashes into both sides of the fish. Do so at a 45 degree angle and don’t go through the spine of the fish.
Take 1/3 of the pureed mixture and rub into the fish slashes and along the length of the fish. Season fish with salt and pepper.
Take the remaining puree and combine with the onion mixture to make the table sauce (chermoula).
Grill (or broil) the fish for several minutes on each side and serve with the chermoula.