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Moroccan Fish Tagine with Tomatoes, Olives, and Preserved Lemons

This tasty Moroccan fish tagine comes from chef Paula Wolfert, author of "Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking." Photo courtesy of Ed Anderson.

  • servings: 6

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Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed hot red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 wedges Preserved Lemons, rinsed, pulp and peel separated
  • 3 tablespoons fruity extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound monkfish fillet or thick slabs of halibut
  • 1 large carrot, very thinly sliced
  • 2 ribs celery, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 1 pound red ripe tomatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, sliced into very thin rounds
  • 2 dozen Moroccan red or picholine olives, rinsed and pitted
  • 2 dried bay leaves, preferably Turkish
  • Sprigs fresh cilantro, for garnish

Directions

  1. Step 1

    Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and cook until toasted and fragrant; grind to a fine powder. Transfer cumin to a mortar or jar of a blender and add garlic, salt, paprika, parsley, cilantro, pulp of preserved lemon, and olive oil. Puree to make a charmoula, using a pestle or by blending.

  2. Step 2

    Rinse fish and pat dry. If using monkfish, cut away grey membrane and divide the fish into 4 equal pieces. Rub half of the charmoula all over fish; let stand for 1 hour at room temperature or up to 24 hours, refrigerated. Add 1/2 cup water to remaining charmoula, cover, and keep refrigerated.

  3. Step 3

    Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spread 2 tablespoons reserved charmoula over the bottom of a tagine; sprinkle with carrots and celery. Add half of the tomatoes and bell peppers; top with fish and drizzle with some of the charmoula. Add remaining tomatoes and bell peppers and spread remaining charmoula over top.

  4. Step 4

    Chop preserved lemon peel and sprinkle around fish along with olives and bay leaves. Cover tagine with parchment paper-lined aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour.

  5. Step 5

    Remove tagine from oven and pour liquid from dish into a small nonreactive saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat until thickened and reduced to 1/2 cup; pour back over fish.

  6. Step 6

    Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees. Baste fish with pan juices and bake, uncovered, in top third of oven until a crust has formed over the vegetables, about 10 minutes. Transfer tagine to a wooden surface or a folded kitchen towel to prevent cracking. Garnish with cilantro sprigs; serve warm or hot.

Source
The Martha Stewart Show, November 2009

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