Fish tagine with preserved lemon and mint

Fish tagine with preserved lemon and mint

Fish tagine with preserved lemon and mint

The fish tagines of coastal Morocco are often made with whole fish, or with large chunks of fleshy fish such as sea bass, monkfish, and cod. The fish is first marinated in a chermoula-style flavoring, and the dish is given an additional fillip with a little white wine or sherry. Serve with new potatoes and a leafy salad.


  • 900 g fresh fish fillets, such as cod or haddock, cut into large chunks
  • 2–3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 1 preserved lemon , finely chopped
  • 400-g tin plum tomatoes with their juice
  • 150 ml fish stock or water
  • 150 ml white wine or fino sherry
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • leaves from a bunch of fresh mints, finely shredded

For the chermoula:

  • 2–3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • a small bunch of fresh coriander
  • a pinch of saffron threads
  • 1–2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3–4 tablespoons olive oil
  • freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon

Serves 4–6


First, make the chermoula. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and chili with the salt to form a paste. Add the coriander leaves and pound to a coarse paste. Beat in the saffron threads and cumin and bind well with the olive oil and lemon juice (you can whizz all the ingredients together in an electric blender if you prefer). Reserve 2 teaspoons of the mixture for cooking. Toss the fish chunks in the remaining chermoula, cover and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 1–2 hours.

Heat the oil in a tagine or heavy-based casserole. Stir in the onion, carrots, and celery and sauté until softened. Add the preserved lemon (reserving a little for sprinkling) with the reserved 2 teaspoons of chermoula and the tomatoes and stir in well. Cook gently for about 10 minutes to reduce the liquid, then add the stock and the wine or sherry. Bring the liquid to the boil, cover the tagine, reduce the heat and simmer for 10–15 minutes.

Toss the fish in the tagine, cover and cook gently for 6–8 minutes, until the fish is cooked through. Season to taste with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the reserved preserved lemon and the shredded mint leaves and serve immediately.