Preparing for a trip to Morocco I came across an article covering the tagine. Before I even set foot overseas I was obsessed with international dishes and this one, cooked in a dome-shaped earthenware pot of the same name, sparked my imagination.
A quick jaunt to Sur La Table closed the gap between myself and Marrakech as I set out to get a taste of the exotic. With a shiny new tagine I played around with a few recipes for Jaclyn and some friends over the weeks before my departure, as if I knew what I was doing!
But it was out in the historic souks of Marrakech that I encountered my first authentic tagine experience. A friend of mine knew of a place in Djemaa el-Fna where dining over the tagine was no less than a ceremony. It was a dimly lit cafe where belly dancers, in sheer skirts and charming bras, were swaying through trails of hookah smoke to the tunes of a hypnotic flute. We ordered the lamb tagine which came out sizzling on a bed of onions, carrots and garlic surrounded by green olives, dates, and preserved lemons in a rich oily sauce. This being my first meal in 21 hours I dug in eagerly. It was a surreal experience, chowing down, pouring mint tea late into the night.
Back in the states, I recently invested in a proper size tajine and made my first meal over the weekend. Maybe not as good as what you can find in the streets of Morocco, but I’ll get there!
I first layered the bottom with onion rings, garlic and cinnamon sticks in a bath of olive oil, cardamom, and turmeric.
From there you sauté the mix with the lid off until onions are translucent, or a few minutes.
I then added thinly sliced potatoes, whole tomatos, and a pinch of saffron and continued cooking until the spices were really aromatic. About 5 minutes.
Lastly the fish goes on top with some slices of preserved lemon.
As the apparatus serves to steam every inch of the dish, tagine is meant to slow cook on the stove (or fire pit!) between med-low to low. Cover and let simmer on the stove top for an hour.
- 1/3 cup of olive oil
- 2 lb White Fish
- Large onion, cut into rings
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- teaspoon cardamom
- teaspoon turmeric
- 4 new potatoes
- handful of cherry tomatos
- 2 bell peppers
- teaspoon salt
- pinch of saffron
Voila! Have you come across any dishes abroad that left a huge impression?