Chaeeerr-mooou-laah. Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Saying it reminds me of those embarrassing drama class exercises to warm up your facial muscles – i know you know what i’m talking about, you are probably trying some out at this very moment…unique new york, unique new york…no? just me?
Chermoula is a North African sauce that combines bright herbs with warm spices and a salty/sweet kick from preserved lemons (yes! today is the day we are using them – hope you are ready!). It is also incredibly versatile – add some more oil and its a marinade for fish, add less and its a thick sauce for a roast chicken. For my spring-inspired version below I decided to use ramps for some garlicky spice – I realize ramps are only available for a hot second in early spring so I listed some other options in the recipe notes.
Notes on PREPPING scallops:
- remove the foot (pictured above) – this is the muscle that attaches the scallop to its shell, some may not have one but its just a tougher chewier texture than the scallop itself
- rinse briefly in cold water
- pat dry with a paper towel
- season with salt and pepper just before cooking
Notes on COOKING scallops:
- heat a cast iron or nonstick pan with a high burning temp oil (such as vegetable, safflower, grapeseed, etc)
- when the pan is just about to smoke, add the scallops – there should be no overlapping so do in batches if necessary
- turn each scallop after about 2 minutes, or when the bottom is nicely golden
- cook another 2-3 minutes on the other side and serve immediately
- 1 1/ 2 cups ramps (or cilantro + 2 cloves garlic)
- 2 cups parsley leaves (about 1 lg bunch)
- 1 tbl preserved lemon rind, rinsed thoroughly and chopped*
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp honey
- ⅓ - ½ cup olive oil**
- Combine all of the ingredients, except the olive oil, in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
- With the processor on, drizzle in the olive oil.
- Taste for seasoning and add salt, pepper, or more cayenne as needed.
- Serve at room temperature or store in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for 3-4 days.
** if this is going to be a finished sauce, start by add ⅓ cup oil - you can always add more if you want it thinner
if its a marinade you will likely need the full ½ cup or a touch more