Last Saturday night for dinner, I cooked a fish tagine, following a recipe from Cooking at the Kasbah, by Kitty Morse.
You don’t have to have a tagine, you can use an enameled cast-iron pot with a lid. Use a firm-fleshed fish like mahi mahi, red snapper, or sea bass. The author says that small sticks of bamboo are often crisscrossed at the bottom of the cooking vessel to prevent the fish from sticking to the pot; this uses carrot slices instead.
I made this with mahi mahi and pitted green olives in water, and my frozen Roma tomatoes from last summer’s garden. I added a little extra water to the tagine with the carrots since I think my Romas had less water than 4 fresh tomatoes would have had. The fish was very thick so took 20 minutes to cook. It did need salt at the end. Garnish with plenty of cilantro. I cooked quinoa instead of couscous for a gluten-free grain, and served the fish and veggies over it, very nice to have something to sop up the juices.
Recipe follows the photos, enjoy! -Jillian
Toasting the saffron
Marinating the mahi mahi
Tomatoes, garlic, and cumin cook for a few minutes to thicken
Then you layer the carrots on the bottom, onions over that, and spoon the sauce over
Adding the fish, olives, and lemon to the veggies
The finished dish over quinoa; a nice melding of flavors - fish, preserved lemon, olives, spices.
- 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 cups olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Sweet Hungarian Paprika
- 8 threads Spanish saffron threads, toasted and crushed
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 lemon
- 4 six-ounce boned fish fillets, firm fish like red snapper, sea bass, mahimahi
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon preserved lemon pulp
- 12 green or black olives, pitted
- fresh cilantro for garnish
1. Toast the saffron for 2 to 3 minutes in a skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Then crush. In a large bowl, mix the parsley, cilantro, olive oil, paprika, saffron, and ginger. Add the juice of half a lemon. Coat the fish fillets with this mixture and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, turning over once or twice. Cut the other half of the lemon into thin slices and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine the tomatoes, garlic, and cumin. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Place the carrot slices in a single layer on the bottom of a tagine or enameled casserole or dutch oven. Cover with the onion slices. Spoon the tomato sauce over the onion. Cover and cook over medium heat until the carrots are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Set the fish on top of the vegetables. Spread a little preserved lemon pulp over each fillet and top each one with a slice of lemon. Add the marinade. Surround the fish with olives. Cover and cook over medium heat until the fish is flaky, 10 to 20 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.