Grilled Trout with Chermoula

From Matthew Altizer

2013 Jul/Aug

Chermoula is a North African spice paste that is typically used as a marinade for grilled fish. The recipe always contains garlic and cilantro, but every chef makes chermoula using different combinations of Moroccan spices.


  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 2 t. cumin, freshly ground
  • 1 c. cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 t. sweet smoked paprika (available at specialty food stores)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 T. sherry vinegar
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 4 small rainbow trout, or 4 6-oz. portions of steelhead trout


Using a food processor or mortar and pestle, grind the garlic with the salt and the cumin. Add the cilantro and paprika, followed by the lemon juice, sherry vinegar and olive oil. Mix to combine. Taste for seasoning and set aside.

If you’re using whole trout, make several slashes in the skin of the fish on either side and rub the fish inside and out with half of the marinade. Set the remaining chermoula aside. If you’re using steelhead fillets, rub each piece well with half of the chermoula and set the remaining chermoula aside.

Let the fish marinate for at least 1/2 hour or for up to 2 hours. Preheat a grill over medium-high and cook the fish, flipping once, until it’s almost cooked through. Spread the remaining chermoula on top of the fish and let it cook for a couple more minutes. Gently lift the trout onto a serving platter and serve immediately. Serves 4.