Sunday Afternoon: Chermoulah



Sunday afternoons often find me with some free time and the desire to make a few things in the kitchen that cause the weekday dinners to go easier. School starts tomorrow for us. So I might normally think about baking a batch of muffins “egg McMom’s”, pancakes, or breakfast burritos for weekday breakfasts. In the summer, I might make a pasta or potato salad to serve up a few days in a row. In the winter, I often make a big pot of soup. In terms of a main course, I might roast a chicken and then have some “planned over” burritos (sounds much nicer than leftovers doesn’t it?). Or cook a roast and make hash or burritos or fried rice another night.

Today I made chermoulah. This is a recipe I found in Fine Preserving: Jams and Jellies, Pickles and Relishes, Conserves and Chutneys and Brandied Fruits for City and Country Cooks. I had actually begun to collect cookbooks long before blogging. When I moved into this house, with its 14 fruit trees, I was struck by the idea of canning. My own mother had canned a variety of home-grown produce and fruits when I was growing up, everything from stewed tomatoes to applesauce and jams. I guess it just seemed natural that I try my hand. I found this book and bought it, long before I knew who MFK Fisher was, although in fact it was her annotations that made the book interesting to me. I’ve made a spiced cherry jam that is to die for, lemon marmalade, and chermoulah, peppers cooked in oil and vinegar, MFK Fisher’s favorite in the book as well as my own. When I saw green peppers on sale at the grocer, I remembered this recipe and made up a batch today. Like MFK Fisher, I like to make mine with a mixture of different colored peppers, although you could more easily just make it of a single color. The original recipe calls for green peppers only.

You cook up sliced peppers and whole garlic cloves in a mixture of olive oil, vinegar, paprika, coriander, salt, and pepper, then refrigerate. Serve it as a side dish, an appetizer, or whatever. If you’ve got some crusty French bread, the oil and vinegar mixture is to be sopped up with the bread. I could easily make a meal of the chermoulah and bread.

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp ground coriander
  • salt and pepper to taste (1/4 tsp each maybe…)
  • 2 peppers, seeded and sliced into 1/2″ strips
  • 6 large cloves of garlic, peeled

Cook this all together over a low heat. I do it so that the oil is barely making bubbles. The original author, Catherine Plagemann, says 15-20 minutes. MFK likes it a bit crisper and does 10-15 minutes.

Cool and refrigerate. It should be eaten within a few weeks, although, like MFK notes, it never lasts long enough in my house to push that time limit.

Today I did one batch of green peppers and one of red peppers, then combined them afterwards. It is a beautiful concoction, in addition to tasting heavenly!



  1. […] Working at home as I do, my lunches are usually leftovers, salads, soups in the winter, or sandwiches. Leftovers for lunch are great unless I’m planning on having them for dinner as well. Same with the soup. And I get bored with plain sandwiches pretty quickly. Adding some avocado to a turkey sandwich makes it a treat. And yesterday I discovered the ultimate sandwich add-in: chermoulah! […]