Here is one more example of how succulent a dish comes out when cooked on a stovetop. The other wonderful thing is, with stovetop cooking, there’s no more talk of side dishes. It’s all aboard in a pot, and this is why in our Moroccan Cooking, everyone eats their veggies and other sides: there’s no more sides! there’s just dinner in one pot! As you know, I cook up a storm, with global flavors and methods, but I am very partial to our wonderful Moroccan Tajines, and devoted a huge chapter about it in my Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen Cookbook
The right pot is key
I hope you read the information I have for you on the choice of a pot here. Broad bottom, heavy gauge and stainless steel: This is the requirement in a nutshell.
My Fish Tajine is quite elastic!
It is most often what I find at the market that informs what I will use in my fish tajine. The method remains the same: Vegetables, aromatics and seasonings, and fish.
I am listing the recipe with the selections du jour: Cardoons (below), Swiss Chard, olives, tomatoes, mini peppers, preserved lemons.
On the day I planned on making this fish tajine, I got incredibly lucky and found cardoons, members of the artichoke family that bear a striking resemblance to celery. A great favorite in our Sephardi cooking, not just with fish, but with meat and poultry as well.
They make infrequent appearances, so I am not suggesting looking for them. But I am saying, if you find them run home with them!
You must get rid of their bitterness: peel the stalks thoroughly, then cut them in 2 inch segments, and let them soak in a mixture of water and lemon or vinegar. This step is very simple but necessary.
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- good pinch saffron threads
- 2 good pinches red pepper flakes
- 1 large bunch Swiss chard (kale is great too), ribs and leaves, sliced thin
- 1 bunch cardoons, prepared as instructed above. Only if you come across them, otherwise just skip them
- 2 large tomatoes, or 4 plum tomatoes, diced
- 1 pound mini peppers, seeded and halved lengthwise
- 1/2 cup good quality pitted black olives
- 1 preserved lemon, skin only, thoroughly rinsed, and minced
- 2 dozen baby potatoes
- 8 serving pieces boneless skinless salmon, halibut or other thick-flesh fish
Mix all but last ingredient in a heavy broad bottom pot.
Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the flame to medium. place the fish on top of the mixture.
Cover the pot and cook 30 minutes.
Transfer the fish and vegetables to a platter with a slotted spoon.
Check the liquids in the pot. If they are too thin, reduce them on a high flame just a minute or two, or until thickened to the consistency of maple syrup.
Pout this sauce over all. Serve hot or at room temperature