Moroccan Style Grilled Halibut with Grilled Veggies

© 2013 REMCooks.com

© 2013 REMCooks.com

It’s been a while since we prepared a Moroccan dish. We really shouldn’t wait so long because this dish is really off the charts good.

Well, it appears the fickle weather is beginning to settle down and things are returning back to normal. We finally hit 90 F for the first time on Monday. The weather has been beautiful. Temperatures are running in the mid-to-high 80s with the lows at night and in the morning in the 70s. The sky has been blue, blue, blue. It’s picture perfect weather. It’s also grilling time. :) So, primed with the urge to grill it was off to the market in search of a grillable piece of fish. I also was in search of some Scottish smoked salmon to do a salmon, crispy potato (think tater chip crispy), sour cream and cucumber napoleon appetizer I wanted to make (recipe found here). Tuesdays, however, are not a particularly good fish day at the market. Hence, the selection was limited and the smoked salmon left a lot to be desired. Oh well, no appetizer and Baby Lady was looking so forward to it, too. Nevertheless, they had just received a shipment that morning of some very fresh, wild halibut. Baby Lady would be pleased.

Now that I found the fish the next question would become what to do with it. I could marinate it. I could make a dill citrus rub for it. I could do a simple lemon cream sauce. Oh, the possibilities were endless. Then I got to seriously contemplating the issue. It was a that time I became inspired. I realized I hadn’t done anything Moroccan in quite some time. While most people relate Moroccan food with tagines (Moroccan stews), there is so much more to Moroccan food than tagines (which are quite good). In fact, I had preserved some lemons a while back and a charmoula with preserved lemons would be a perfect foil for the grilled halibut. Now, charmoula is a marinade or a sauce with a combination of flavors, i.e. saffron, chile, paprika, ginger, bay leaves, parsley, cilantro, onion, cumin and olive oil. It’s found in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. Like harissa and ras el hanout, charmoula recipes are as varied and numerous as the stars in the sky. Well, maybe not that many but you get my point. Every household has their own family recipe for charmoula. Nevertheless, almost all versions of charmoula have certain common elements, chopped parsley, chopped cilantro, chopped onions and a wide assortment of spices. Like any sauce or marinade, however, charmoula is used to enhance the natural flavor of the food, not to mask it. It is widely used for grilling meats and fish in Moroccan cuisine. Some people even use it with roasted veggies. So, I knew it would work perfectly with the grilled halibut even though halibut is not a Mediterranean fish. This was a really wonderful, simple meal and this is what we did.

Ingredients

  • 3 halibut steaks, roughly 7 oz. each

For the Veggies

  • 1 eggplant peeled and sliced crosswise
  • 1-2 yellow squash, sliced lengthwise
  • 3 spring onions, whole
  • olive oil
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

For the Charmoula

  • 1 preserved lemon, rind only, diced (you can find these at specialty shops but they are much better if you make your own. Given it’s lemon season, better get cracking)
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp hot sauce (recipe found here) – substitute 1 to 1-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 large pinch saffron
  • 1 Tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
© 2013 REMCooks.com

© 2013 REMCooks.com

Instruction

For the Charmoula

Add the garlic to your food processor

© 2013 REMCooks.com

© 2013 REMCooks.com

Next, add the diced preserved lemon rind

© 2013 REMCooks.com

© 2013 REMCooks.com

the cilantro

© 2013 REMCooks.com

© 2013 REMCooks.com

the parsley

© 2013 REMCooks.com

© 2013 REMCooks.com

black pepper

© 2013 REMCooks.com

© 2013 REMCooks.com

now the saffron

© 2013 REMCooks.com

© 2013 REMCooks.com

the salt

© 2013 REMCooks.com

© 2013 REMCooks.com

cumin

© 2013 REMCooks.com

© 2013 REMCooks.com

paprika

© 2013 REMCooks.com

© 2013 REMCooks.com

hot sauce (or cayenne pepper)

© 2013 REMCooks.com

© 2013 REMCooks.com

lemon juice

© 2013 REMCooks.com

© 2013 REMCooks.com

and olive oil

© 2013 REMCooks.com

© 2013 REMCooks.com

Process the ingredients to a paste.

© 2013 REMCooks.com

© 2013 REMCooks.com

For the Veggies

Before grilling the halibut, lightly oil the veggies and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place on a preheated grill on medium heat.

© 2013 REMCooks.com

© 2013 REMCooks.com

Let them develop some good grill marks and turn. Try to get some cross hatch marks.

© 2013 REMCooks.com

© 2013 REMCooks.com

When the eggplant and squash are done, remove from the grill and cover with foil. They will remain hot while you grill the halibut. Keep the spring onions on the grill because they take more time.

For the Halibut

Liberally coat both sides of the halibut with the charmoula paste.

© 2013 REMCooks.com

© 2013 REMCooks.com

Cover and place in the refrigerator for 1 to 1-1/2 hour. Remove from fridge, place in grilling basket and place on grill.

© 2013 REMCooks.com

© 2013 REMCooks.com

Cook 3 – 4 minutes per side until the interior is opaque and the fish just begins to flake. Do NOT overcook the fish. :)

To Plate

Place a bed of grilled veggies on the plate.

© 2013 REMCooks.com

© 2013 REMCooks.com

Place halibut on top of grilled veggies

© 2013 REMCooks.com

© 2013 REMCooks.com

Add whatever accompaniments you choose

© 2013 REMCooks.com

© 2013 REMCooks.com

Place a grilled spring onion on the plate. Serve & enjoy

© 2013 REMCooks.com

© 2013 REMCooks.com

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10 thoughts on “Moroccan Style Grilled Halibut with Grilled Veggies

  1. Very interesting, Richard! I’ve never cooked anything Moroccan and I’m not sure if I’ve ever tasted it. This looks like something I’d enjoy. Most of the Moroccan coast is Atlantic, so perhaps they do have halibut there. I agree completely that fish should not be overcooked and that spices should not overpower the flavor of the fish, although before the invention of the refrigerator it probably was used for masking purposes.
    PS This post did not show up in the reader.

    • Thanks, Stefan. Moroccan food is very nice. Given the amount of cilantro in it I’m surprised you you would like it. You could substitute coriander seed for the leaf and it would work, as well. Obviously, you would have to adjust the quantity. Inasmuch as halibut is a cold water fish, I would be surprised if it were available in Morocco. As for WP, I have no clue what is occurring. Maybe it’s time to go to self hosting.

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  3. My experiences with Moroccan cuisine is very limited, Richard, but even I can see that your spice mix would guarantee a very flavorful charmoula. And with halibut taking to the grill so beautifully, I bet the combination is just incredible! Thanks for sharing another great recipe.

    • Thanks, John. We’re glad you liked it. Every time I do something with halibut I think about you. While I know you don’t have a grill anymore, you can still do this under a broiler and it would work out wonderfully. I hope you give it a try. It was spectacular.

  4. I love Moroccan food and prepare it often. I have preserved lemons that I made awhile back. I’ll have to take them with me as we are heading to our summer cottage in Maine soon where I will be grilling up a storm. This sounds like a perfect dish to start the season. Your tabouleh recipe is the perfect accompaniment.

  5. Pingback: Pan Fried Walleye topped with Hollandaise Sauce and Charmoula Zucchini on the side | REMCooks

  6. Pingback: CFSR WOD 6.7.2013 | CrossFit San Ramon

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