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Chermoula (the best sauce you’ve never heard of)

Seared Scallops w/ Ramp + Preserved Lemon Chermoula

Chaeeerr-mooou-laah. Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Saying it reminds me of those embarrassing drama class exercises to warm up your facial muscles – i know you know what i’m talking about, you are probably trying some out at this very moment…unique new york, unique new york…no? just me?

Chermoula is a North African sauce that combines bright herbs with warm spices and a salty/sweet kick from preserved lemons (yes! today is the day we are using them – hope you are ready!). It is also incredibly versatile – add some more oil and its a marinade for fish, add less and its a thick sauce for a roast chicken. For my spring-inspired version below I decided to use ramps for some garlicky spice – I realize ramps are only available for a hot second in early spring so I listed some other options in the recipe notes.

Happy Spring!!

Seared Scallops w/ Ramp + Preserved Lemon Chermoula
Seared Scallops with Ramp + Preserved Lemon Chermoula

Notes on PREPPING scallops:

  1. remove the foot (pictured above) – this is the muscle that attaches the scallop to its shell, some may not have one but its just a tougher chewier texture than the scallop itself

  2. rinse briefly in cold water

  3. pat dry with a paper towel

  4. season with salt and pepper just before cooking

Notes on COOKING scallops:

  1. heat a cast iron or nonstick pan with a high burning temp oil (such as vegetable, safflower, grapeseed, etc)

  2. when the pan is just about to smoke, add the scallops – there should be no overlapping so do in batches if necessary

  3. turn each scallop after about 2 minutes, or when the bottom is nicely golden

  4. cook another 2-3 minutes on the other side and serve immediately

Seared Scallops w/ Ramp + Preserved Lemon Chermoula

Chermoula w/ Ramps + Preserved Lemon

Yield: about 1 cup


  1. 1 1/ 2 cups ramps (or cilantro + 2 cloves garlic)

  2. 2 cups parsley leaves (about 1 lg bunch)

  3. 1 tbl preserved lemon rind, rinsed thoroughly and chopped*

  4. ¼ cup fresh lemon juice

  5. 2 tsp smoked paprika

  6. ½ tsp cayenne

  7. 1 tsp cumin

  8. 2 tsp honey

  9. ⅓ - ½ cup olive oil**


  1. Combine all of the ingredients, except the olive oil, in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

  2. With the processor on, drizzle in the olive oil.

  3. Taste for seasoning and add salt, pepper, or more cayenne as needed.

  4. Serve at room temperature or store in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for 3-4 days.


* if you do not have preserved lemons use the zest of 1 lemon ** if this is going to be a finished sauce, start by add ⅓ cup oil - you can always add more if you want it thinner if its a marinade you will likely need the full ½ cup or a touch more


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