When we were in Paris last summer, we had some delicious Morrocan cold cooked carrots and when it came to planning our Thanksgiving dinner, I thought I would replicate the dish. Chermoula is a Moroccan paste which goes with a variety of dishes. In Moroccan cuisine, chermoula is the magic wand to deal with fish. It is classically a mix of fresh cilantro, garlic, and spices, bound together with lemon juice and olive oil. The combination of spices varies depending on the cook's preferences, and fresh parsley, fresh mint, or chopped onions may be added, but the basic idea remains the same: to form a thick paste that will be used as a marinade before grilling or baking the fish, or as a condiment at the table. Chermoula is used mainly with fish in Morocco, but you can marinate vegetables just as nicely, including carrots or even broccoli. Carrots go absolutely marvelous with it as we will see in this post.
We were in the mood for something different and decided to try Oum el Banine near where we live. The restaurant is a small family place on Rue Dufrenoy, just off Boulevard Flanderin established in 1993. I happen to love Moroccan food since I have visited Morocco in the past and we have Moroccan restaurants in Las Vegas and LA. This food is nothing like American Moroccan food. Moroccan cuisine is extremely refined, thanks to Morocco's interactions and exchanges with other cultures and nations over the centuries. Moroccan cuisine has been subject to European, Berber, Moorish, and Arab influences. The cooks in the royal kitchens of Fes, Meknes, Marrakesh, Rabat and Tetouan refined it over the centuries and created the basis for what is known as Moroccan cuisine today. The Treaty of Fez (signed in 1912) made Morocco a protectorate of France. In late 1955, Mohammed V successfully negotiated the gradual restoration of Moroccan independence within a framework of French-Moroccan interdependence. Morocco and France have a close relationship and there are a number of Moroccan restaurants in Paris.