As I said in my post for my ‘Special fried rice’, North African food is as popular in Paris as Indian and Chinese food in the UK, and tagines’ are very much part of North African cuisine.
So, as a result of a continued plea from my daughter Kate, to post either a fish or vegetarian dish, here is a recipe given to me by a French friend, Solene, who has North African origins.
If you do not have a ‘tagine’ (a North African clay cooking pot with a flat, wide, base and a distinctive long funnelled neck designed to cool the steam as it rises so that it falls as liquid back into the pot, retaining all the goodness, flavour and moisture of the dish), then a heavy bottomed casserole sealed with aluminium foil before putting on the lid will help lock in the flavours in a similar manner.
I used Sea Bass in my dish, but any white fish fillets such as Haddock or Cod would be equally suitable.
This is a lovely mid-week supper dish and goes very well with a chilled glass of Moroccan white or rosé wine that complement the fragrant spices perfectly.
4 large/6 medium boneless, skinless white fish fillets
4 medium carrots, cut into fine batons
1 medium green pepper, cut into fine batons
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large clove of garlic, crushed
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 level teaspoon of turmeric
1 level teaspoon of cumin
A pinch of raw cane sugar (sucre roux)
A pinch of Cayenne pepper (optional)
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to taste
Lemon wedges and fresh parsley to serve
A glug of oil
For the Marinade (mix all together in a non-metallic bowl)
125 ml of light olive oil
The juice of ½ a freshly squeezed lemon (le jus d’un demi citron jaune)
1 dessert spoon of course sea salt (or preferably ‘pink Himalayan salt if you have)
2 crushed cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon (1 cuiller de café) of cumin, coriander and paprika
Pat dry the fish fillets and coat with the marinade, rubbing gently into the fish.
Cover with cling film (film alimentaire) and rest in the fridge for up to 4 hours (at least 30 minutes)
Heat the oil in a saucepan and gently sauté the onions and garlic for 1 minute, taking care not to brown, add the carrots and peppers and continue to cook for a further minute
Add the turmeric, cumin, pinch of cayenne pepper and sugar
Stir in the tomatoes plus half a can of water
Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 15-20 minutes, until the carrots are just tender
Remove the fish from the fridge and transfer to a plate
Add the sauce to the marinade and mix well
(At this stage if you have a tagine, then you would transfer the sauce and fish to the tagine and cook for 30 minutes at 180 degrees/gas mark 4 allowing for slower cooking)
Return the fish to the dish, cover with aluminium foil and cover with a lid and cook in a preheated oven for around 20 minutes at 190 degrees/gas mark 5 until the fish is cooked through
Season as required
Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley
Serve with plain cous cous, or rice, or just some warm pitta bread as preferred
This is dish is not a full on ‘curry’ so if it is a little too mild for spicy English preferences, then do as I do and serve with a little dish of chopped jalapenos on the side.
The aromas as this dish is cooking are wonderful and really get the taste buds prepared for a gastronomical delight……………..