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Fish Tagine

What a treat of a meal - I cook this for all fish lovers. I can start the preparation during the day and once guests have arrived or just prior to serving, I can finish off the cooking while people are tucking into nibbles. I serve it with tortillas to make mini wraps which soak up all those wonderful flavours. Wonderfully fresh with the preserved lemon. Be sure to cook potato well – thinly slice.

"Recipe by Peta Mathias, it is usually eaten with the fingers and lots of Moroccan style bread to soak up the juices"– Mary-Lou Herdson.

Pictured: Fish tagine just after fish added for baking

Two pinches saffron
4 small waxy potatoes (400g)
Salt and pepper
4 tomatoes, sliced (400g)
1 green pepper, sliced
4 garlic cloves
1/3 cup piquillo peppers (80g)
½ tsp ground cumin
2 tsp olive oil
½ preserved lemon
10 stoned green olives
400g white fish
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Soak saffron in a little boiling water for at least ten minutes.

Scrub potatoes and slice ¼ inch thick. Place in the bottom of a tagine base or casserole dish, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Add half the tomatoes, green pepper, garlic, piquillo peppers, ground cumin, salt and pepper, half the saffron, 1 tsp olive oil.
Place lid on top and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
Check that the potatoes are about cooked. Bake longer if necessary.

Remove the flesh from the preserved lemon and discard. Cut the skin in thick strips.

Remove the dish from the oven and add the green olives, fish, the other half of the tomatoes, rest of the saffron, 1 tsp olive oil, the preserved lemon strips, the fresh lemon juice, and the fresh chopped coriander.

Place the lid back on the dish, and cook for a further 30 minutes.

Serve in the tagine with Moroccan bread, or tortilla wraps as a substitute.

Serves two

TasteTip - preserved lemon recipe, see below - for picture go to Tagine of Pumpkin and Chickpeas

Preserved Lemons are so easy to make yourself and can save you at least $12 per jar - as per the recipe by Neil Perry from Saturday Kitchen, BBC:

25 fresh ripe lemons (unwaxed)
2 handfuls sea salt

Wash the lemons in hot water to remove the waxy coating.
Cut them in half, squeeze the juice out then cut into quarters.
In a bowl, rub the lemons all over with plenty of sea salt and pack them tightly into a sterilised jar* with the lemon juice. Water can be used to top up the liquids if the juice doesn’t quite cover the lemons.
Preserve for at least 5 weeks.
To use the lemons, remove the flesh and pith, and discard. Finely slice or dice the skin.
Tip - For the last minute, cheats version of preserved lemons, simply boil some whole lemons in very salty water for about 30 minutes.
Makes 25 lemons

* To sterilise jars - place in a moderate oven 20 minutes, let cool until able to handle. Do not change the temperature of oven or cool with water etc as the glass may break.

Pictured: Moroccan Glassware