Creamy shellfish tajin with fennel and harissa 

creamy shellfish tagine with fennel and harissa

Creamy shellfish tajin with fennel and harissa is a delectable and flavorful dish that brings together a rich combination of ingredients to create a satisfying and indulgent meal.

Let's break down the key components of this dish:

Shellfish:The use of shellfish, such as shrimp, mussels, or clams, adds a delightful seafood flavor to the tajin. These ingredients are not only delicious but also provide a variety of textures, making the dish more interesting.

Creamy Sauce: The creaminess of the sauce contributes to the luxurious and comforting nature of the dish. This could be achieved through the addition of heavy cream, coconut milk, or a combination of both, creating a velvety texture that coats the shellfish and other ingredients.

Fennel: Fennel is a unique and aromatic vegetable that imparts a subtle licorice flavor to the dish. When cooked, fennel becomes tender and adds a refreshing element that complements the richness of the creamy sauce and the robustness of the shellfish.

Harissa: Harissa is a North African chili paste that adds a bold and spicy kick to the tajin. It typically contains a blend of chili peppers, garlic, olive oil, and various spices. The use of harissa not only adds heat but also infuses the dish with a complex and exotic flavor profile.

Additional Aromatics and Spices: To enhance the overall flavor profile, ingredients like garlic, onion, and a mix of aromatic spices such as cumin, coriander, and paprika may be included. These elements contribute depth and complexity to the dish.

Accompaniments: The creamy shellfish tajine can be served with a variety of accompaniments such as couscous, rice, or crusty bread. These side dishes help soak up the flavorful sauce and provide a satisfying base for the shellfish and fennel.

In summary, the creamy shellfish tajin with fennel and harissa is a fusion of Mediterranean and North African flavors, bringing together the richness of shellfish, the creaminess of the sauce, the aromatic qualities of fennel, and the spicy kick of harissa. This dish is a celebration of contrasting yet complementary flavors, making it a delightful and memorable culinary experience. 

In some coastal areas of Morocco, such as Casablanca and Tangier, restaurants offer shellfish tajines – a modern specialty, rather than a traditional one. Whether these dishes are the result of colonial French influence or simply devised for the tourists, they are certainly very tasty.

shellfish tajin Ingredients

  • 500 g fresh mussels in their shells, scrubbed clean and rinsed
  • 500 g fresh prawns in their shells, thoroughly rinsed
  • freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4–6 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped
  • 1–2 teaspoons harissa paste 
  • 150 ml double cream
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • leaves from a large bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • crusty bread, to serve

Serves 4–6


Put the mussels and prawns in a large saucepan with just enough water to cover them. Add the lemon juice, cover the pan and bring the liquid to the boil. Shake the pan and cook the shellfish for about 3 minutes, until the shells of the mussels have opened. Drain the shellfish, reserve the liquor, and discard any mussels that have not opened. Refresh the mussels and prawns under cold running water and shell most of them (you can, of course, leave them all in their shells if you prefer, as long as you are prepared for messy eating).

Heat the olive oil in a tajin or heavy-based casserole. Add the shallots and fennel and sauté, stirring, until soft. Stir in the harissa and pour in 300 ml of the reserved cooking liquor. Bring the liquid to the boil and continue to boil for 2–3 minutes, reduce the heat and stir in the cream. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes to let the flavors mingle, season to taste with salt and plenty of black pepper, and stir in the mussels and prawns. Toss in half the coriander, cover and cook gently for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining coriander over the top and serve immediately with crusty bread.