Sunday, June 17, 2012

Baby Blue Fish with Charmoula

Photo © Valery Rizzo

So I got the first fish from my CSF (Community Supported Fishery) with Mark and Bianca of Mermaid's Garden. This week's fish was Baby Blues caught by fisherman Nat Miller from Montauk, Long Island, using pound netting, a very old and humane catch method. Mermaid's Garden sends you this great weekly info about the fish, how it was caught, by whom, and suggestions for storage, cooking and recipes.

Grilling was recommended for the Blue Fish and I have to admit I was a bit intimidated, did I need a special fish holder, do I cook it right on the grill, would it fall through the grating? But fish is meant to be scooped up out of the ocean and grilled outdoors! Bianca assured me it would be fine directly on the grill. So my husband and I set out to grill our baby blues for the very first time on our very tiny Weber grill out in the backyard. 

I decided to try Mark's Grilled fish with Charmoula. Charmoula is an herb and spice mixture used throughout South Africa. You use most of it as a marinade for the fish and reserve the rest to serve with the grilled fish. You can find Mark's version on Mermaid Garden's facebook page and all I can say is this was one of the most amazing things I have ever eaten!! There is a reason he is the chef from Palo Santo! I used the parsley and cilantro from my garden and substituted red pepper flakes for the jalepeno pepper and ground cumin in place of toasted cumin seeds. I also realized I used all of the reserved marinade on the finished fish rather than the tablespoon recommended for each fillet in the recipe...whoops sorry Mark. It was still amazingly delicious to me and I successfully grilled my first fish! I paired the fish with a simple salad of escarole, thinly sliced red onion and pumpkin seeds dressed with some grated Pecorino Romano, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Visit Mermaid's Garden's Facebook page more info about their CSF and beautiful photos of the local fisherman with their catch. 


  1. Charmoula sounds fantastic (I absolutely love cilantro!) and it's something I'll make! I will copy the recipe.

    I love the photo and the fact that you have placed the blue fish on a blue plate! The contrast is fantastic and, if a photo can have textures, this one has!

    This is my kind of food: fresh fish with a delicious dressing, served with love, by the candlelight! I love candles!

    Buona giornata, Valeria!


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  3. Hahaha thanks Anna! You will love the Charmoula it really is superb. I knew you would love the fresh fish and I should have known the candles :) there is nothing like eating outside with the ones you love. This week my CSF is offering whole fish, porgies. It's fun learning more about cooking fish.

    Ciao Anna,

    xxx Valeria

  4. Hi Valery...and I am always nervous about grilling fish, too. I's either going to stick completely to the grill, or fall completely apart! This looks beautiful. I am not familiar with charmoula...but you've got me intrigued! Your photography is beautiful! : )

  5. Thanks Anne! I felt exactly the same way about grilling but I think the marinade covers it with enough olive oil and 3 minutes on each side and its perfect. Can't wait to try a whole fish.