Because of Morocco’s interaction with other nations and cultures over the centuries, its cuisine is extremely refined with marked Berber, Moorish, Arab, Spanish and French influences – especially the first three. Cooks in the Royal kitchens of Morocco’s kitchens have refined the cuisine over the centuries and created the basis for one of the top cuisines in the Mediterranean basin.
Though I’ve not always been a fish lover, I’ve made this dish before and it was absolutely delicious every time:
Moroccan Fish Tagine
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- pinch of saffron
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 7 ounces canned chopped tomatoes
- 1 1/4 cups fish stock *
- 4 small red snappers, cleaned, boned with heads and tails removed
- 1/2 cup pitted green olives
- 1 tablespoon chopped preserved lemon
- 3 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- salt and pepper
- Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole. Add the onion and gently cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until softened but not colored. Add the saffron, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, and turmeric and cook for additional 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
- Add the tomatoes and stock and stir well. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Uncover and simmer for 20 to 35 minutes, or until thickened.
- Cut each red snapper in half, then add the fish pieces to the casserole, pushing them down into the liquid. Simmer the stew for an additional 5-6 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked.
- Carefully stir in the olives, preserved lemon and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
* Fish Stock
Makes about 5 1/2 half cups
- 1 lb 7 ounces white fish heads, bones, and trimmings, rinsed
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 fresh parsley sprigs
- 4 black peppercorns
- 1/2 lemon, sliced
- 5 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- Cut out and discard the gills from the fish heads, then place the heads, bones, and trimmings in a large pan.
- Add all the remaining ingredients and gradually bring to a boil, skimming all the foam that rises to the surface.
- Partially cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
- Strain the stock without pressing down on the contents of the strainer. Let cool, cover, and store in the refrigerator. Use immediately or freeze in portions for up to 3 months.
Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!.