I’ve become completely obsessed with Moroccan food after eating at Café Mogador in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, so of course I had to go out immediately and get The Food of Morocco by Paula Wolfert and a clay tagine to make this amazing Fish & Potato Tagine. I love a lot of different cuisines and have become infatuated with one after the other, but I’m not sure I’ve fallen in love quite like this before. I don’t know if it was the magic mixture of spices on Café Mogador’s lamb chops, the creamy hummus and fresh pita bread or the preserved lemons and olives in my chicken tagine, but I am completely smitten.
You certainly do not need a traditional Moroccan tagine unless you are crazy like me and own every gadget and appliance imaginable (doesn’t everyone need an industrial slicer?). Any Indian clay pot or casserole dish will work. The original recipe is a side dish by Paula Wolfert called Potato Tagine with Olives and Harissa, however I wanted to make it a one pot meal and I finally convinced my teenage vegan to eat fish so in went the fish. I’ve also simplified it because Paula Wolfert is a stickler for keeping recipes traditional, which is great but some of the ingredients are hard or impossible to find and often there are extra steps which to a busy mom like me seem unnecessary. You can’t get a much prettier meal than this!
Serve this Fish & Potato Tagine with a side of couscous and you have one delicious meal with a great presentation.
- 2 pounds red or russet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small red onion, sliced into thin strips
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- pinch of ground cumin (preferably Moroccan)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 lemon
- 1 1/2 cups hot water
- pinch of saffron threads
- 1 pound halibut or cod, cut into serving size pieces
- harissa seasoning
- 3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- 3 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
- 12 large green pitted olives, sliced
- 1/2 preserved lemon, sliced into strips
- couscous for serving
- Lay the cut potatoes in the tagine or casserole.
- In a separate pan over medium heat, fry the red onions in the olive oil until translucent and then add garlic. Fry until slightly crispy. Add the paprika, ginger, cumin and salt to the pan and fry for another minute. Add tomato sauce, bay leaf and lemon quarter. Cook for another minute or two until sauce thickens. Pour tomato sauce mixture over the potatoes.
- Heat 1 1/2 cups of water to just boiling and add the saffron threads to it. Stir until water is yellow.
- Pour saffron water over the tomato sauce/potato mixture.
- If using a tagine, cook on the stove top and bring liquid to a boil. Then cover with lid and reduce to simmer, cooking for about 40 minutes until potatoes are tender and almost done. If using a casserole dish, bake in oven covered at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
- Remove potatoes from oven. Sprinkle harissa seasoning and salt on the fish and lay on top of the potato mixture. Sprinkle with parsley and cilantro. Add the olives and preserved lemons.
- Cook for another 10-15 minutes covered until fished is just cooked through.
- Serve alongside couscous
For another great fish recipe try roasted soy ginger salmon!