Spicy Potato Tagine with Preserved Lemon and Olives

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    4 to 6

Appears in

The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen

By Paula Wolfert

Published 2003

  • About

This Moroccan, main-course vegetable dish integrates marvelous components: preserved lemons, juicy tan olives, and well-spiced potatoes.


  • 2 pounds red potatoes
  • 1 small onion, grated and squeezed dry (see Note), plus 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • cup grated tomato
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon hot Hungarian paprika
  • Pinch of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ fresh lemon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt
  • 4 to 5 dry saffron threads, crumbled
  • 24 juicy purple or tan olives
  • ½ preserved lemon


  1. Peel the potatoes and thickly slice into a bowl of cold water.
  2. In heavy saucepan set over moderate heat, cook the grated onion in olive oil until melting, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomato, ginger, paprika, cumin, and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes.
  3. Drain the potatoes and add to the pan with the thinly sliced onion, the bay leaf, and the fresh lemon quarter. Toss to coat the potatoes, onion, and lemon quarter with the parsley, cilantro, and salt to taste. Add the saffron and 1½ cups hot water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to very low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 40 minutes.
  4. Use a slotted spatula to transfer to a covered serving dish to keep warm. Discard the lemon. Add the olives to the liquid and boil until the pan juices are reduced to a thick sauce. Correct the seasoning, pour over the potatoes, and garnish with the preserved lemon.