Fish Tagine with Preserved Lemon, Olives, Grapefruit & Saffron for 2

Thursday, February 5, 2015 5 No tags Permalink 0

Soul meets soul on lovers’ lips.- Percy Bysshe Shelley

 Valentine’s Day approaches and we are in no short supply of sweets, of the perfect, most decadent, richest, sexiest dessert with which to woo and to wow our lover. But something must come before the dessert, a savory dish to ignite the senses, to titillate both the palate and the heart, a main course to impress. And I have just the recipe for you.

This fish tagine is as exotic, as beautiful as it is simple to make. The classic Moroccan tagine combination of preserved lemon and olives is this time paired with fish, a plump, meaty, tender and moist fish filet. The grapefruit adds a slight kiss of both sweet and tart while the saffron adds a depth, a complexity and a stunning color to the sauce.

Jamie Schler Fish Tagine 2

Soulful, satisfying, delicious, this fish tagine will most definitely dazzle your loved one. And then you can bring on the dessert.

Fish Tagine with Preserved Lemon, Olives, Grapefruit & Saffron for 2
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A simple yet sumptuous dinner for two that will dazzle. Soulful and satisfying.
Recipe type: main course, dinner, Moroccan, tagine
Cuisine: Moroccan
Serves: 2 servings
  • 2 thick codfish filets or other dense white fish
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • ½ a round zucchini, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1 or 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • ½ green pepper, trimmed, seeds and white ribs removed, pepper chopped
  • ½ or more pink grapefruit supremes (only the segments, none of the membranes)
  • 1 preserved lemon (citron confit), halved or quartered
  • 2 Tbs tiny dried sultanas
  • 1 cup olives, preferably purple olives
  • Ras al Hanout for coating the fish filets
  • Curcuma or saffron, a pinch or so
  • Red Adobo Chili powder, to taste
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Fresh coriander
  1. Rub the fish filets with ras al hanout and a bit of the adobo chili powder on both sides.
  2. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil or equal parts olive oil and margarine in a large pot over medium heat.
  3. Once hot, add the chopped onions and garlic, stir to coat, then place the fish skin side down to sear quickly; flip and sear quickly on the other side; you want the outside of the fish to color and shrink slightly but not cook through.
  4. Carefully remove the fish from the pot, lift out and place on a plate.
  5. Add the potato and zucchini cubes, the green pepper, the preserved lemon, the sultanas and the grapefruit supremes to the pot; cover with water, salt and pepper then add a pinch of saffron, a bit more of the ras al hanout and adobo chili powder and allow to simmer until the potatoes are tender; add water as needed, you do not want the water to boil away.
  6. Once all of the vegetables are very soft, return the fish to the pot with the olives and a couple of tablespoons of chopped fresh coriander, allow to simmer just until the fish are cooked through, adding more water if needed.
  7. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings.
  8. Serve over hot couscous grains, garnished with a bit more coriander.
As with most tagines and most of my husband’s cooking, amounts of each ingredient vary depending upon your individual taste, so quantities are estimations.

  • John@Kitchen Riffs
    February 5, 2015

    Love both pictures, the top one in particular. I haven’t had (or made!) a fish tagine in ages. This looks wonderful. And it contains preserved lemon and saffron, two favorites of mine. Really good stuff — thanks.

    • Jamie
      February 9, 2015

      Thank you, John! I have been learning all about tagines and the possibilities and variations of ingredients and flavors from my husband who learned to cook them in Morocco. This was particularly delicious and special, the flavors perfect with the fish.

  • Barbara | Creative Culinary
    February 7, 2015

    I love foods with French, Italian and Mexican roots but don’t make them often enough. This Moroccan dish sounds divine and looks absolutely soul satisfying.

    • Jamie
      February 9, 2015

      Barb, I adore North African food and every time I turn around JP teaches me a new recipe. I think this was one of my favorites.

  • Lynn
    February 10, 2015

    Saving this one for Mark and my “rain check, romantic dinner when we get home”. No access to a kitchen where we are now. Since we’re lovers of tagine, can’t pass this up! I’ll bet you’ll spill some valentine dessert beens anytime now too 😉