Friday, April 15, 2005


Moroccan Fish Tagine with Peppers and Olives

Ciao Carissimi!

Last weekend I invited some friends in for an intimate dinner party. What to cook? What to cook? I wanted a change from the otherwise favoloso Italian repetoire, and so I went to another region of the Mediterranean for an astoundingly toothsome dish from Morocco. I also went to a very useful site on the net, and found this marvelous, economical, delicious, colorful, nutritious recipe.

For the antipasto, I served marinated calamari, roasted eggplant with herbs and chopped sauted plum tomatoes, and a hunk of Capone cheese with crackers. That got our mouths watering for the main course. And here it is (with my variations in bold):

Moroccan fish specialties are prepared with a marinade called charmoula. Paprika, cumin, cilantro and garlic usually form its base, with other seasonings-such as the saffron and turmeric here-added for variation.

1/2 cup vegetable oil (Of course, I used a fruity olive oil!)
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
3 large garlic cloves, chopped (I used 4 or 5, I always use more than called for)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon Hungarian sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon crushed saffron threads
4 6-ounce white fish fillets (I used talapia and cod, but any firm fish will do. Purchase 1/2 per person.)
1 pound carrots, peeled, thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 large lemon, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 medium-size red bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
24 brine-cured olives (such as Kalamata)
Additional Chopped fresh Italian parsley and cilantro, and mint

Mix first 7 ingredients in medium bowl. Add fish and turn to coat. Refrigerate 2 hours, turning fish occasionally.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange carrot slices (I cut the carrots on the bias and parboiled them for 2 minutes) over bottom of 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Layer half of tomatoes, half of onion and half of lemon over. Season with half of salt and pepper.

Drain marinade from fish; reserve marinade. Arrange fish atop lemon slices. Top fish with remaining tomato, onion and lemon slices. Season with remaining salt and pepper. Top decoratively with red pepper strips and olives. Pour reserved marinade over. Cover dish with foil. Bake 40 minutes (or until fish flakes).

Garnish with additional herbs. Serves 4 (with lots of leftovers).

We had several bottles of red wine. Can't remember what they were. But they did go well with this hearty fish dish. No wimpy whites needed.

Your guests will rave.

Enjoy. And buon appetito a tutti!

NOTE: Are your cupboards filled with little tins of spices you've kept for years and years? THROW THEM OUT!

Go to a natural food store that sells them in bulk and purchase only an ounce or two at the most, and replace them when you run out. This dish will not taste glorious if you use those old rusty tins of McCormick spices that have been collecting dust in your cupboard for years. Never purchase those huge plastic containers of dried herbs and spices. You won't use them up fast enough and they lose their punch after only a few months. Actually, they're already old when you purchase them.

My advice: Buy your spices in small amounts, and if possible, dry your own herbs.

Eating well is the best revenge.

sounds lovely, and i do like hearty fish dishes that will let me get away with robust red wines. Because (don't laugh), I am a sucker for Lambrusco. Just wish my favorite, Giocobazi, was still available here.
I have been lurking around your blog a while and decided to reveal myself when I saw this recipe! This sounds amazing, and I love Moroccan food. I can see you are a fan of garlic, as am I, and of Epicurious, too. I'll try this one some time. I have actually seen the ceramic tagines they bake these dishes in in some of the fancier kitchen stores, but they're pricey. We had an excellent Moroccan place a block away from us, but it recently closed down - very disappointing (the food was astounding, the service stank - I think the guy who waited the tables also did the cooking, busing, and dishes).

I have a food blog, too,, on top of my personal one.
GWB: Lambrusco, eh? It's a bit too sweet and frizzant for my taste, but so is Britany Spears, and lots of people like her. [Smiley icon].

You can drink anything you like with this dish or with any dish. I am not a wine snob. I used to drink Thunderbird, and thought it had hints of Cool-Whip, Velveeta, and ketchup with a strong M&M's finish.

wandering coyote,

Wow! A pastry chef in the making! I was going to post some of my favorite dessert recipes, but do I dare now?

There is a great Moroccan restaurant quite near to where I am in Boston, in Charlestown. The food and service are great. But I was deeply disappointed that my favorite dish, Bastilla, was not included on the menu!

The first time I had Moroccan food was at a restaurant, Marrakeesh, in La Jolla, CA. I was won over immediately.

I read somewhere that Moroccan food is among the world's greatest cuisine.

And it is! It truly is.

Thanks for visiting.

I'll be over to see you on both your sites.

One can never have too many dessert recipes, so post away!
I have a large collection of evangelical church supper dessert recipes (collected over 60 years by my mother and sister). It is amazing how many creative ways there are to use Jello and Dream Whip! I have often thought of publishing them, but with the type two diabetes epidemic.......

I also have killer recipes for Tuna Hotdish, ten different types of church supper meatballs, and at least three recipes for Beans and Franks (including bbq and southwestern).

Should I start my own Church Supper Gormet Blog?

Incidentaly, it is never good form to serve wine with church potluck cuisine. The beverages of choice are Chase and Sanborn coffee, Red Rose iced tea, or Royal Crown Cola. (whoa...dated myself there, didn't I?)
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
GWB: Do you have an aspic recipe? No church pot luck recipe repertoire is complete without one!
we were working class evangelicals....nobody there would eat meat in clear jello
Pardon me. I'm more familiar with tomato aspic, in moulds, no less!
We were Catholics. But my sister changed to Protestanism when she married my Canadian brother-in-law.

Her children were raised Methodist.

And I love my whacky niece who says "Every good church lady puts banana slices in her lime jello!"

Great White Bear:

You're on to something. Recipes for bad, middle America food. But recipes that bring back memories of a deprived childhood.

In my childhood, we ate cannoli, pizza dolce, and pizzelle for our desserts.
Do you have a good cannoli recipe? I am very interested in Italian desserts, having been to Italy and drooled over a few myself. Alas, the backpacking budget only allowed for the odd gelato...
my favorite church jello is lime with applesauce, made with ginger ale (Vernor's works best), and chopped peanuts or roasted pecans on top.
actually, childhood was not deprived...just fattening!
This started out as a joke, but my sister, Mrs. Reverend Timothy Patch and I have actually decided to start the church potluck blog. Watch your cholesterol counts, midwestern comfort food on the way!
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