June 28, 2019 7 Comments
When we developed our Moroccan Tagine spice blend, we had in mind a dry version of chermoula, a delicious, aromatic Moroccan herb sauce made with fresh herbs, garlic, lemon and spices.
Chermoula can be used to marinate fish or meat for tagines, aromatic slow-cooked stews traditionally prepared in Morocco in a tagine, the signature ceramic or clay cooking dish with a conical lid.
Our blend combines paprika, garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne and a hint of caraway plus sweet notes from cinnamon and a bright pop of lemon, mint and parsley.
It's delicious sprinkled directly on fish or chicken, whisked with olive oil into a marinade or stirred into a stewy tomato-based sauce.
I have yet to acquire a tagine (the ceramic pot). Our kitchen is small and any large cooking implement has to really be a workhorse to make the cut! But luckily most of the same results of a tagine can be achieved with a heavy duty cast iron or Dutch oven and a lid.
A tagine typically includes marinated meat or seafood gently cooked on a base of vegetables. The stews tend to be heavy on the onions and are generously spiced.
While lamb or chicken-based tagines tend to include sweet elements, such as dried fruit, fish tagines skew more to the savory notes, sometimes with the tangy addition of preserved lemon.
According to Jeff Koehler, author of Morocco, a fish tagine from the country's Atlantic coastline might include monkfish, bream, swordfish, eel, or blue shark.
We used snapper for this recipe, but any white fish of your choice would work. Also, be sure to dice the potatoes very small to ensure they become tender.
Moroccan Tagine-Inspired Fish Stew
1 lb red snapper filets, cut into 4 pieces
3 tablespoons Moroccan Tagine, divided
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 14.5-oz cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 cups seafood or vegetable stock
1 red or orange bell pepper, diced
½ cup pitted green olives
Juice and zest of one lemon OR one preserved lemon, seeds removed, chopped
3/4 lb baby red potatoes, diced very small
¼ cup torn cilantro leaves
Salt the fish on both sides. In a bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons Moroccan Tagine. Spread the mixture onto each fish fillet with a spatula. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
In a heavy cast iron skillet or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté onions, 2 teaspoons flake salt and 1 tablespoon Moroccan Tagine for 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute more. Add tomatoes, stock, olives, lemon zest and lemon juice (or preserved lemon if using) and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
Add potatoes and peppers, cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
Arrange the fish fillets on the vegetables and cook partially covered for 4-6 more minutes or until the fish is just cooked. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve with lemon wedges and toasty bread or steamed rice.
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