Culinate recipe editor’s note: This is one of my all-time favorite fish dishes. It’s a great dish to double for a dinner party, as there are many steps that can be prepared in advance. I like using wild halibut from Alaska; substitute canned tomatoes when tomatoes are out of season.
A popular Moroccan green-hued sauce used in fish stews, or tagines, is called charmoula. It’s a balanced combination of quantities of flat-leaf parsley and fresh coriander, oil, cumin, paprika, and hot pepper. I love it for its powerful taste and the way it permeates the delicate flavor of fish, and in this dish especially it makes marvelous eating. You can make it ahead of time and keep it refrigerated for 1 or 2 days.
In Morocco, fish stews are always cooked in earthenware, which is especially helpful when the stew contains tomatoes. (Tin-lined copperware and aluminum definitely alter the flavor.) In this Moroccan fish tagine, the rich tastes of tomatoes, green peppers, and hot peppers are offset by the tart, briny flavor of preserved lemons. Traditionally, this tagine would contain an entire fish with the head intact, but I have found it easier to make with thick fillets.
Serve the fish directly from the baking dish. Pass slices of anise-flavored Moroccan bread, and accompany with a light, dry red or white wine.
|1||large garlic clove, crushed with 2 teaspoons salt in a blender or mortar until smooth|
|1½||tsp. ground cumin seed|
|2||tsp. sweet paprika|
|2||Tbsp. coarsely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley|
|2||Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh coriander leaves|
|¼||tsp. crushed hot red-pepper flakes, seeds removed|
|2||Tbsp. fresh lemon juice|
|2||Tbsp. fruity olive oil|
|4||thick lean fish fillets or slices, about 8 ounces each: monkfish, red snapper, sea bass, tilefish, or other ocean fish|
|1||carrot, sliced very thin|
|1||lb. red, ripe tomatoes, cored and sliced thin|
|2||small green bell peppers, cored, seeded, and sliced thin|
|1||small green or red hot pepper, cored, seeded, and sliced thin|
|~||Sea salt and pepper|
|2||wedges of preserved lemons, rinsed and drained, pulp discarded, peel sliced thin|
|2||Tbsp. coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley|
|~||Sprigs of fresh coriander, for garnish|
This content is from the book Paula Wolfert’s World of Food by Paula Wolfert.
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