I know what you are thinking – another chermoula recipe? Really?
I admit that two chermoula recipes in two months seems a bit excessive especially given that hardly anyone has ever heard of chermoula. However, this grapefruit chermoula really is different enough from the other recipe that I think you will forgive me. This chermoula has the same Moroccan inspired spices as the other but the addition of harissa and grapefruit changes the flavor significantly. Bursts of citrus mixed with earthy spices are a flavor combination like nothing you have ever had. It’s spectacular!
When I saw the recipe in Bon Appétit last fall, I was really intrigued. It was different from any other sauce recipe I had seen and had so many of my favorite herbs and spices. The only problem was there were no suggestions on how to use the chermoula once you made it. So, I set the recipe aside until I could come up with some ideas for using it but then promptly forgot about it. Fortunately, a few weeks ago, I was reminded of the recipe when my sister gave me a huge box of grapefruits from her tree and I started experimenting. It turns out this sauce works great with salmon as both a topping and a marinade. It is also excellent with some baked pita chips in case you want to do some snacking during your dinner prep (which I highly suggest you do). Just toss a few extra grapefruit segments into the chermoula so you will have enough to serve with dinner.
The hardest part of this recipe is segmenting the grapefruit (also known as supreming). If you have never done it before, you might want to check out this handy video on the Saveur website that demonstrates the technique. My advice is to put the bowl in the sink as juice tends to splatter more than you think it will. Also, if you store your fruit in the refrigerator like I do, I suggest letting the grapefruit come to room temperature before cutting it into sections. It’s fine to use it straight from the fridge, it’s just that your hand will get uncomfortably cold.
- 1 large grapefruit (enough to yield about 1 cup of grapefruit segments)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons harissa paste (I use the mild flavored kind)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 to 1-1/4 pound salmon fillet (preferably skinless) cut into 4 servings
- Cut the grapefruit into sections by first cutting off the top and bottom of the grapefruit to expose the flesh. On a cutting board, stand the grapefruit on one of the cut ends then using a sharp knife cut off all the peel down to the flesh, following the curves of the sides. Holding the peeled grapefruit over a bowl, cut between the membranes to release segments into bowl. Squeeze juice from membranes into the bowl then discard membranes. Coarsely chop segments into large chunks; return to bowl.
- To make the chermoula, measure out 2 tablespoons of grapefruit juice and put into second bowl. Add all the other ingredients except the salmon. Stir to combine. Stir in half the grapefruit segments (leaving any excess juice in grapefruit bowl). Measure out 1/2 cup of the grapefruit mixture into a resealable plastic bag. Add salmon fillets to bag, seal bag (removing any excess air), and marinate salmon in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, add remaining grapefruit segments to the remaining chermoula mixture (leaving any excess juice in grapefruit bowl). You can save the extra juice for another use or just drink it as you finish the recipe.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove salmon fillets from marinade and place on a lightly oiled, foil lined rimmed baking sheet. Roast salmon in oven for 15-20 minutes or until salmon is cooked through. Serve salmon topped with grapefruit chermoula.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit, September 2014.