North African Chermoula at The Red Rabbit Stratford

North African Chermoula at The Red Rabbit Stratford

Alternatively, either a mixture of garlic and at least a half-dozen spices including coriander, cumin and perhaps some paprika that is traditionally a dry-rub marinade for fish or seafood, or, with the addition of lemon and olive oil that makes it a thick sauce perhaps like chimichurri, chermoula is a Moroccan ingredient that warms food in a heady and earthy way.

The mixture, which might have variant spellings on restaurant menus, is also known in other regions of north Africa such as Tunisia and Algeria where its blending can be different depending on the location. It also has variations that can be found in southern France. Accordingly, there is no single recipe for chermoula.

And you don’t have to travel as far as northern Africa to sample one local variation of chermoula. Among other places in southwestern Ontario that use the spice blend, Stratford’s The Red Rabbit draws on it as part of the unique creamy, fried polenta and duck egg dish that appears on their menu. (The photo here is not from The Red Rabbit.)

The restaurant is also notable for the fact that it hopped into “community ownership,” essentially. They’ve cast out the traditional model and hierarchy of a restaurant business: instead, there are a half-dozen or so staffers acting as owners drawing profit-sharing salaries. Interesting —  and delicious.

[ Image: Michelle Tribe via Wikimedia Commons  ]

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