Monday, July 2, 2007
A Man and A Kitchen / Un Homme et Une Cuisine
My hubby can be a great cook when he wants to. He also has his own way of heating up the kitchen and his own way of getting things done, too.
First, he puts some music on, usually some salsa music. Then, he starts dancing his way to the kitchen; with some great moves I must say.
Standing in the middle of the kitchen, he asks me: “Ok! What are we going to do?”
“What are we going to do? What are you going to do?” “I thought you already knew!”
“Yes, Yes. I am just teasing you”, he always says.
He then starts chopping, dicing and using all my plates and my kitchen space while going back and forth to turn up the music volume. Between cooking, washing the dirty dishes, dancing, singing and stirring the pan every two seconds, it takes him about two hours or more to have dinner on the table.
When it was only the two of us, having him in the kitchen was assured to be a lot of fun, messy but fun. But now, with a crawling baby who loves running between our legs and who requires our attention every minute, time gets really precious.
So now, even though he doesn’t cook and doesn’t dance as much often as I want him to, he still amazes me with his “nothing special” dishes, as he calls them, like this Chermoula that is not only quick but most of all demands the use of a single kitchen item: A mortar.
Chermoula is a Maghrebi (North African) marinade used mostly to flavor fish or seafood but would work as well with vegetables and meats. The basic ingredients to Chermola are herbs, lemon, olive oil, garlic and spices. After that you can vary the recipe by adding other ingredients like onions, diced jalapeno, if you like it spicier, or saffron. Whatever you choose to do with this recipe, the only advice that I would give is not substituting parsley for the cilantro because it just doesn’t give the same delicate and lemony flavor that cilantro gives to the marinade. My hubby likes to use a mortar in making Chermoula because it lets him control the consistency of the Chermoula, which should be thick, and the pestle allows the spices and herbs to develop their aroma slowly by grinding them.
Chermoula and Calamari
- 1 lemon
- 3 garlic cloves, diced
- 1 tsp ras el hanout
- ½ tsp cumin seeds, toasted
- ½ tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp hot red pepper, diced (optional)
- A pinch of salt
- The leaves of a small bunch of cilantro
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 pounds calamari rings
In a mortar, put the zest of the lemon, the spices, the salt and the garlic and grind using your pestle until it resembles a uniform paste. Add the juice of half the lemon, the cilantro leaves only and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Grind to form a paste and add the remaining olive oil if the chermoula is too thick. Season to taste. Let the chermoula rest for about 15 min at room temperature. Mix the chermoula into the calamari and let it marinate for an hour. Heat a non-stick pan. Sauté the calamari in the pan for two min on each side until golden brown. Serve immediately.
Chermoula avec du calamar
In francais please:
- 1 citron jaune
- 3 gousses d’ail, hachees
- 1 c.c de ras el hanout
- ½ c.c de graines de cumin, grilles
- ½ c.c paprika
- ¼ c.c de piment rouge, cisele
- Une pincee de sel
- Les feuilles d’un petit bouquet de coriandre
- 2 c.s d’huile d’olive
- 1 kg d’anneaux de calamar
Dans le mortier, mettre les epices, le sel, le zest du citron et les gousses d’ail. Concasser a l’aide de votre pilon jusqu’a ce que le mélange ressemble a une pate homogene. Ajouter le jus d’un demis citron, les feuilles de coriandre et une c.s d’huile d’olive. Concasser encore et ajouter le reste d’huile d’olive si le mélange vous semble trop epais. Gouter et assaisonner selon le gout. Laisser la chermoula de cote pendant 15 min. Melanger la chermoula aux anneaux de calamari et laisser mariner pendant une heure. Faites chauffer une poele anti-adhesive et faites sauter les anneaux de calamar pendant deux min de chaque cote jusqu’a ce que ils soient bien dores. Servir tout de suite.