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FISH TAGINE WITH TOMATOES, PEPPERS

AND PRESERVED LEMONS

 

Ingredients:

Charmoula:

1 clove garlic, chopped

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons sweet paprika

2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

Tagine:

2 pounds firm-fleshed ocean fish: snapper, sea bass, grouper, monkfish

1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced

1 pound ripe tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced

2 small green bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced

1 small green or red hot chili, cored, seeded and thinly sliced

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/3 preserved lemon, rinsed with pulp removed and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, chopped

Garnish: fresh cilantro leaves.

 

Directions:

Charmoula: As early as a day in advance, combine all the ingredients for the charmoula in a Pyrex measure or container of  a hand blender or food processor bowl and process to a puree.  Transfer the mixture to a skillet and heat for 30 seconds, not to a simmer, then divide equally between two containers to cool.

 

Rinse and pat dry the fish fillets.  Spread the contents of one of the charmoula bowls over the fillets and refrigerate one hour or  as long as a day.  Add 1/2 cup water to the remaining half of the charmoula, cover and reserve.

 

Assembly and Baking: About 1 1/2  hours before serving time, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Lightly coat the bottom of a shallow 2 1/2 quart baking dish with the charmoula mixture.  Scatter the carrot slices over the bottom of the dish and sprinkle on more charmoula.  Lay on half of the tomato, pepper and chili slices and again sprinkle with charmoula.  Place the fish fillets on the bed of vegetables and cover with the slices of preserved lemon followed by the remaining vegetable slices.  Spread the remaining charmoula on top.  Cover the dish tightly and bake for 45 minutes. Drain the baking juices from the dish and reduce them rapidly to 1/2 cup.  The dish may be prepared to this point up to one hour in advance.

To serve, turn the  oven temperature to 500 degrees. Baste the dish with juices and place in the hot oven for  5 - 7 minutes, until the top is crusty.  Garnish with parsley and cilantro leaves and serve warm.