Chermoula Sauce

A mari­nade or rel­ish, this here is a sta­ple of Mid­dle East­ern cui­sine. it’s tra­di­tion­al­ly used with fish or oth­er seafood, but you can use it to fla­vor any­thing you like. I won’t tell.

  • Ingre­di­ents:
  • 34 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 4 gar­lic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 14 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 14 tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 12 cup extra-vir­gin olive oil

Coarse­ly chop the cilantro, gar­lic, cumin, papri­ka, cayenne, and salt. It’s fine to do this in a food proces­sor; about 10 puls­es will suffice.

Stir in lemon juice (or pulse briefly).


Don’t mix in the olive oil with a food proces­sor! The oil won’t emul­si­fy with the lemon juice and the sauce will be sour and bitter.

Trans­fer mix­ture to medi­um bowl and slow­ly whisk in the oil until it’s incor­po­rat­ed and the mix­ture is emul­si­fied.

Cov­er with plas­tic wrap and let stand at room tem­per­a­ture for at least 1 hour.

Sauce can be refrig­er­at­ed for up to two days; bring to room tem­per­a­ture and whisk it again before serv­ing. 

Emul­si­fy Like a BOSS!

Some liq­uids are immis­ci­ble, which means they don’t like to mix; oil and water, for instance. An emul­sion com­bines the two liq­uids tem­porar­i­ly, so one is sus­pend­ed in tiny droplets in the oth­er. When you have a sal­ad dress­ing with oil and vine­gar, for instance, they’ll sep­a­rate into two lay­ers. You have to shake it occa­sion­al­ly so the vine­gar is sus­pend­ed in droplets through­out the oil.

In this case, you want the lemon juice and oth­er oils and juices to mix togeth­er and com­bine their fla­vors. If you do that in a food proces­sor, it will break the oil up into such tiny droplets that the bit­ter-tast­ing polyphe­nols in the oil and the lemon juice’s acid will be all you can taste.

That would be sad. So don’t.