I hate people who never do anything interesting with fish. Those smug folk who exclaim that you SHOULD just “let the fish speak for itself”. Well for one, fish can’t talk, but if they could I’m sure they’d demand to spend their last moments in a tasty sauce, rather than a frying pan with a bit of salt. I do love a bit of fish simply cooked, but I also like to change it up once in a while and make something truly exciting with it.
The Moroccan combination of flavours from preserved lemon, coriander and paprika make this dish something to remember. A really really fresh, light and tangy sauce just perfect for dunking bread into. Now why would you have a sad old fried piece of fish when you could have this?
For the Chermoula
800g fish fillets (bream/snapper/monkfish etc. – skin off and cut into large chunks)
2 tablespoons preserved lemon (flesh discarded, skin chopped)
2 garlic cloves (chopped)
5 tablespoons fresh coriander (with stems roughly chopped)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley (chopped)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
For the tagine:
10 small salad potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 garlic cloves (chopped)
15-20 cherry tomatoes
1 green capsicum (sliced)
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
In a food processor, blend together all the chermoula ingredients. Coat the fish in half and set aside the rest.
Cook the potatoes for 10 minutes until just soft. Drain and plunge into cold water to cool slightly. Cut into halves. Heat a tagine or large heavy based pan with the oil over a moderate heat. Fry the garlic for 1-2 minutes until lightly browned. Add the tomatoes and cook briefly till they soften a little. Add the capsicum and olives and fry for 1 minute. Add the remaining chermoula and cook for a further 3-4 minutes then remove from the pan. Arrange the potatoes in the bottom of the pan ten spoon over a little of the chermoula. Place the fish on top then spoon over the remaining chermoula together with 1/2 cup water. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook gently for 15 minutes undisturbed until the fish is cooked and the potatoes soft.
I served mine with some cous cous and fresh crusty bread. I also merrily guzzled a bottle of white wine with it.