Poisson à la Marocaine

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    6

Appears in

The New Kosher

The New Kosher

By Kim Kushner

Published 2015

  • About

To me, nothing defines Moroccan cooking more than the classical preparation of fish. The vibrant red, yellow, and green colors, the spicy aroma, and the delicate textures all come together in this perfect dish. Traditionally, the fish is assembled and marinated in the fridge overnight, but if you are short on time, you can easily go ahead and cook it straightaway.

Ingredients

For the Paprika Oil

  • ½ cup ( oz/55 g) sweet paprika
  • 2 cups (16 fl oz/500 ml) canola oil

For the Saffron Water

  • 1 tablespoon saffron threads
  • 1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) boiling water
  1. 4 cloves garlic, quartered
  2. 1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems reserved and left whole, leaves chopped
  3. 2 red bell peppers, seeded and finely diced
  4. 3 dried red chiles, such as guajillo, ancho, or pasilla
  5. 6 grouper or tilapia fillets, about 6 oz (185 g) each
  6. 1–2 preserved lemons, cut into small pieces
  7. Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  8. Fresh cilantro for garnish

Method

To make the paprika oil, in a glass jar, combine the paprika and oil and shake until well blended. Set aside. This will serve as the base for your Moroccan cooking. Store in a dark pantry and always shake before using.

To make the saffron water, preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Place the saffron on a small piece of aluminum foil and fold over to secure the saffron inside. Toast in the oven for no more than 1 minute. Use your fingers to crumble the saffron into tiny pieces. Place in a small glass jar, pour in the boiling water, and shake until well blended. This mixture will also come in handy for Moroccan cooking.

If you have time to marinate the fish: Pour ¼ cup (2 fl oz/ 60 ml) of the paprika oil into a large sauté pan. Add the garlic, cilantro stems, bell peppers, and chiles. Place the grouper on top and add the preserved lemons. Pour 3 tablespoons of the saffron water evenly over the fish. Use your hands to rub the liquids into the fish. Season with salt and pepper. If you have time, cover the pan and let the fish marinate in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

Remove the pan from the fridge, place over medium-high heat, and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, sprinkle the cilantro leaves over the fish, and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes longer. The dish should look bright and bubbly. Serve right away.

If you have don’t have time to marinate the fish: Pour ¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) of the paprika oil into a large sauté pan. Add the garlic, cilantro stems, bell peppers, and chiles, place over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peppers and chiles are softened, about 4 minutes.

Place the fish on top and add the preserved lemons. Pour 3 tablespoons of the saffron water evenly over the fish. Season with salt and pepper. Tilt the pan so that the liquids are evenly coating all of the fillets. Cover and cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, sprinkle the cilantro leaves over the fish, and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes longer. The dish should look bright and bubbly. Serve right away.