Chicken with Chermoula

We found a tasty combination of recipes for a weekday dinner treat. This first recipe comes from Mary Ellen Evans book, Bistro Chicken, page 82, 2004. We have recommended this book before. Ms. Evans has two homes, one in Minneapolis and the other in the countryside of Provence, and she has had extensive French cooking experience. We are simultaneously envious of her lifestyle and awestruck by her ability to translate French recipes for those of us left land-locked in the middle of America. This recipe is another winner.

Chermoula is a North African fish and meat marinade which Ms. Evans writes has been appropriated by many French restaurants from North African immigrants. The seasonings vary from one recipe to the next, but garlic and coriander (or cilantro) are usually the first two ingredients. The recipe used here was originally designed as a fish marinade, but Ms. Evans has adapted it for chicken. We like the fact that widely available boneless chicken breasts can be used, that we could use up some fresh herbs  languishing in the refrigerator, AND that this recipe is for the grill. See the separate blog entry for Tunisian couscous for the other elements in this picture.

Ingredients

1 1/2 tsp minced garlic

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup fresh cilantro

1/3 cup fresh parsley

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp ground ginger

Pinch cayenne

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Four 6- to 8-oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Instructions

  1. To make the chermoula marinade, mash the garlic with the salt with the tines of a fork on a cutting board to form a paste. Sprinkle with the cilantro and parsley; finely chop until almost a paste. Transfer to a small bowl; stir in the cumin, paprika, ginger, and cayenne. Add the olive oil and lemon juice; stir.
  2. Place the breasts in a shallow, rectangular glass dish. Spread half the chermoula over the surface of the chicken; turn the breats and spread the remaining chermoula on the other side. Refrigerate, covered, and marinate for 1 hour.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the grill.
  4. Grill the chicken over medium heat, covered, on a gas grill or 4 to 6 inches from the coals on a charcoal grill, turning once, until the chicken is no longer pink in the thickest portion when cut with a knife, 5 to 8 minutes per side. Serve.

Makes 4 servings

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