For our first installment, I give you Charmoula (shar-moo-lah). It's a popular North African vinaigrette/marinade that makes literally EVERYTHING you could possibly grill better by at least a factor of ten. Lamb, pork, beef, poultry, fish, shrimp, veggies? Yep. There are a number of variations out there, so feel free to Google it and experiment with which one you like best. I prefer using it as a sauce after the cooking is done, rather than using it as a marinade. If I want to flavor the protein prior to cooking, I make a dry rub of cumin, coriander, paprika, black pepper, kosher salt, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. If it's lamb or beef I use it pretty liberally, poultry less so. Fish and other seafood just get salt and pepper with a little EVOO, since it's a pretty strong vinaigrette and grilled seafood has an incredible flavor all its own.
So here it is - grill nirvana.
5 ea. Limes (juiced)
5 ea. Garlic cloves (minced)
2 ea. Large Shallots (minced) - if small-med shallots, use 5
1 T. Paprika (any kind - hot, sweet, smoked, whatever)
1 T. Cumin (ground)
1 T. Coriander (ground)
1 t. Cayenne
1 ea. Cilantro bunch (rough chop)
Kosher salt to taste
1:1 EVOO/veg oil mix
- Juice the limes into a medium mixing bowl. I like the lime chunks, so I don't strain it. Just watch out for seeds.
- Add minced garlic and shallots and a couple pinches of salt. I combine all this before I prep anything else to give the garlic and shallots time to macerate.
- Add paprika, cumin, coriander, and cayenne, whisk together. If possible, use whole cumin and coriander and grind it yourself in a spice grinder or mortar & pestle. Pre-ground is alright, but not as fresh.
- Add rough chopped cilantro, and whisk together.
- Drizzle in the EVOO/veg oil mix while whisking. It won't emulsify, but it'll mix everything in nice. Mix until you've got about a quart. It'll be around three cups of oil.
- Add salt to taste, and if you're using small or not very juicy limes, you might want to add one more.
Stay tuned for further installments!