moroccan fish tagine with chermoula
3 lb (1 L or 2 M) firm-fleshed white fish (bass, snapper, etc) (cleaned, gutted)
(for frying later,)
1 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
¼ t chilli powder
¼ t ground ginger
½ t paprika
2 13-oz cans chopped tomatoes; drained
(marinade / chermoula)
1 handful green olives
3 cloves garlic; finely chopped
Peel from a preserved lemon; chopped
1 bunch flat leaf parsley; chopped
1 bunch coriander; chopped
2 bay leaves
1 t paprika
½ t ground cumin
¼ t Chili powder
1 lemon, juiced
To make Moroccan lacto-fermented (preserved) lemons, take 4-5 lemons, wash well and cut into 4, but not all the way through. Sprinkle coarse salt into the cuts, close up the lemons and put them in a large jar. Press down, put a weight on top and close the jar. In a few days sufficient juices should be released to cover the lemons. If not, add more lemon juice. Leave for a month before using and use only the skin, discarding the flesh.
(ed: i do preserved limes this way, but it’s basically the same idea. salt, citrus juice, and time.)
Make the chermoula by combining all the ingredients together to make a thick paste. Slash the sides of the fish in a couple of places to help the heat penetrate evenly. Put in a tagine or other ovenproof dish and rub well with chermoula, making sure there is some in the cavity and in the cuts.
Spread the remaining chermoula under and over the fish. Leave, preferably for several hours, to allow the flavours to develop.
Heat the oil and lightly fry the garlic and spices. Add the tomatoes, sprinkle with salt and simmer until the mixture has reduced and thickened somewhat. There must be enough to cover the fish.
Heat the oven to 200C. Pour the tomato sauce over the fish. Scatter the olives on top, cover the dish and bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size and number of fish.
Accompany with rice if you wish.
EDIT, NEXT DAY:
yes! i’m tight on money until next week, so i just used some shitty catfish, and it was good! i did triple the spices (maybe more) and added some home-dried habanero flakes, and went pretty heavy on the ginger, which turned out brilliantly. strongly flavored enough to overpower the freezer burned, super-fishy catfish taste, but not overwhelming. recommended. nothing magical or unusual-amazing, but just a good, hearty middle-of-the-week dish.