Charmoula is a Moroccan sauce that’s been described as being an African chimichurri sauce. It’s great on beef, chicken, you name it. Jeff Wayne White of the Boiler House Texas Grill and Wine Garden at the Pearl Brewery recently served it at a party with lamb kebabs and had people lining up for more. You could also use it on goat cheese and toast for a quick appetizer.
I recently came up with my own variation and tossed it with some firm, flavorful gulf shrimp from Groomer’s for a quick lunch.
What I love about sauces such as this one is that the measurements don’t have to be exact. You’re making a dish that tastes the way you want it to. If you want more parsley than cilantro, for example, switch the proportions — or just use parsley. Use a good glug of olive oil if you want a thinner sauce. It’s your taste buds that matter. Just remember to adjust the seasonings before you use it.
Shrimp with Charmoula
1 pound shrimp
1/2 bunch cilantro
1/4 bunch parsley
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
3 garlic cloves
1/3 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds, or less, to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt, or more, to taste
Coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
Dash of Cayenne pepper (optional)
Juice of 1 lemon
Mixed field greens, for serving
Cook the shrimp however you choose, such as boiled or sautéed. Set aside to cool slightly.
While the shrimp are cooling, make the sauce: Place the cilantro, parsley, paprika, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, if using, and lemon juice in a blender or food processor. Start blending. Slowly add a little olive oil, until the mixture reaches the consistency you like; it can be thick or thin. Taste and adjust seasoning. (I like a lot of freshly cracked black pepper and cayenne, but I use far less cumin than many would suggest. You can also vary the recipe by adding in a few mint leaves, sorrel, chives or other fresh green herbs. Want more lemon flavor? Zest the peel into the mix before you juice it.)
Peel the shrimp. Toss with enough sauce to cover. You may have some sauce left over, depending on how much oil you use. It can be refrigerated and used within a few days.
If you want to serve the shrimp warm and they’re cold at this point, you can reheat them slightly in a saucepan.
Arrange field greens on a plate. Top with shrimp. Serve.
Makes 2 main course servings or 4 appetizer servings.
From John Griffin