Moroccan Tíleflsh with Sweet Onions

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen

By Paula Wolfert

Published 2003

  • About

Here raisins and sweet onions are cooked down to a jam, then just enough lemon juice is added to bring the dish into balance. This simple fish recipe is a perfect example of superb Moroccan home cooking.


  • 4 thick tilefish steaks (about 2 pounds) or other thick white fish, such as monkfish, halibut, rockfish, or cod
  • Sea salt
  • 2 pounds onions
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground allspice or cloves
  • Pinch of dried saffron threads
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • cup yellow or dark raisins
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 12 sprigs of flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 juicy lemons, cut into wedges


  1. Sprinkle the fish on both sides with sea salt. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Halve the onions and thickly slice lengthwise. Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onions, 1 cup water, ½ teaspoon salt, the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, saffron, and pepper. Cover and cook until golden, about 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, soak the raisins in warm water for 10 minutes to plump; drain.
  4. Add the sugar and raisins to the soft onions and continue cooking until the onions have a glazed appearance, about 20 minutes. Set the onion jam aside, uncovered.
  5. About 45 minutes before serving, preheat the oven to 400°F. Scatter the sprigs of parsley over the bottom of a 9 - inch baking dish. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons water and add the fish. Spread the onion jam over the fish and bake for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, leave the oven door ajar, and let remain inside for 20 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.