Of course, there is constant evolution and innovation when it comes to cuisine. It has to adapt to influences. It is constantly created and recreated. But for nearly two years, Mike, and I have made a point to maintain the authenticity of all the recipes we publish.
So many dishes that transported us and will continue to transport all of us, with the added promise and maybe even joy of touching childhood memories. This is my case today.
You should all know by now. Morocco is where I was born!
I love to share my childhood culinary traditions that I trying hard to preserve. It’s no secret, I love Moroccan food! It is my culinary heritage. On 196F, I have the dual ambition of sharing the wealth of world cuisine but also to share my humble knowledge of one of the best cuisines in the world, so fragrant and so rich. Yes, in case you didn’t notice, I am completely objective!
It is always sunny on 196 flavors and this week, we are featuring a friendly theme, that rhymes with great weather: barbecue!
I won’t pretend to be able to tell you the history of barbecue better than our Devil-in-Chief, Mike. So go check out his inviting BBQ Beef rib recipe to learn everything about the origins of BBQ.
Her name is Amina. She has golden hands. She started working for my parents when I was already a “big girl” and she taught me how to skillfully fillet sardines, stuff them, and “marry” them. In the Moroccan dialect, they are called “sardines m’joujine” (السردين المتزوجات). Married sardines or Sardines Mariées can be fried or grilled. I obviously chose the grilling method.
The sardines are stuffed with chermoula, a marinade that is as much part of the Moroccan cooking heritage as couscous. This condiment with specific spices and herbs accompany all kinds of fish but also many other recipes, hot to cold. In the classic version, the ubiquitous chermoula is a mixture of cilantro, cumin, parsley, garlic, paprika, lemon and olive oil. Some add turmeric and chili to the marinade for a spicy and colored result. For my part, I only added chili.
But back to our sardines which can also be great outside a can! In Morocco, we eat lots of fish and especially sardines. Not surprising as Morocco is the world’s largest producer of sardines. The city of Morocco that is best known for its production of sardines is Safi (آسفي) on the Atlantic coast. I would highly recommend all of you who may travel through this port one day to sample the fresh caught sardines with toasted cumin on one of the docks. Pure heaven!
Sardine is a cheap and healthy fish, which happens to be very rich in vitamins and Omega 3. It is ideal for BBQ… but grilling sardines means very strong odors!
For those of you who are not lucky enough to have a garden or terrace and are not thrilled about grilling sardines even though you love them, here are a few tips to eliminate or at least minimize these strong odors. First, just rub the filets with bay leaves on both sides, then pour a few drops of white vinegar over the coals. Meanwhile, squeeze two lemons in a little water, pour a little lavender, thyme and rosemary and heat the mixture over low heat all throughout the grilling even several minutes after.
You have no more excuses! Don’t enjoy sardines only in cans! Barbecue them! Vive les sardines, vive les Sardines Mariées !
- 8 sardines (or 16 sardine filets)
- Vegetable oil
- ½ bunch cilantro , chopped
- ½ bunch parsley , chopped
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 2 tablespoons paprika (or ñora)
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- Mix all the chermoula ingredients in a mortar and mash well.
- Clean and gut the sardines.
- Wash and drain the sardine filets. Butterfly the fish.
- Take a sardine filet, lay it flat and coat generously with chermoula on the flesh side.
- Take another filet and place it flesh side down on top of the other filet to cover it.
- Proceed similarly with all of the sardine filets and the rest of the chermoula.
- Put sardines in the refrigerator and marinate for 1 hour.
- Brush each of the sardines with vegetable oil.
- Lay the sardines inside a fish grilling basket.
- Grill for 5 to 7 minutes on each side or more depending on the size of the sardines.