Fish Tagine

Any excuse at all to use some home-made preserved lemon or lime is welcome. In my view, they are the reason for eating so many tagines. This fish version benefits from quite strongly flavoured fish, such as gurnard or mackerel.


serves: 4
preparation time: 30 mins
cooking time: 30 mins


  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbs groundnut oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 preserved lemon (or lime)
  • 12 green olives, stoned and chopped
  • 1 tbs harrisa paste
  • 4 fl oz dry white wine
  • 8 fl oz fish stock
  • 1 pinch saffron threads (optional)
  • 4 fish fillets (eg gurnard, mackerel)
  • 4 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
  • salt and pepper


In a heavy based pan large enough to hold the fish fillets, gently cook the onion until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the cumin, ginger, cinnamon, preserved lemon and green olives, and cook for a further two minutes. Add the harrisa paste and cook for another minute. Add the wine, fish stock and saffron (if using) and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the fish fillets and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the tomatoes. Now cover the pan, lower the heat and cook gently for about 7 minutes.

Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and serve on a bed of cous cous soaked in fish stock. (Soaking cous cous is one of the very few acceptable uses of a stock cube/powder, if absolutely necessary.)

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