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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Fish Tagine - with tomatoes, potatoes, olives, peppers and figs. Why did I wait so long to attempt this wonderful Moroccan dish?

My friend Setty asked me if I cooked in a Tagine. I told her that I never had, but I would learn and I’d invite her for dinner.  Within 2 days I had a Tagine, and a Tagine cookbook delivered to my apartment, and I invited friends for a late lunch / early dinner on Sunday.  

My first Tagine!  I was a little nervous about it, but it turned out just great!
I was a little nervous about the spices, where would I get them?  But, I’m in Manhattan, we have just about everything, so I went online and found a store downtown on Lexington near 28th Kalustyan's .  Wow, what a place.   They had everything I needed and more.  If you don't have a store like that near you, you can always order from Zamouri Spices.
I bought the Chermoula (wonderful spice mixture for marinating fish) and Ras el Hanout (this means “head of the store” or the best spice mixture a merchant has to offer) with the spices already mixed.  This store seemed authentic enough that I didn’t have any fear that the spices wouldn’t meet my expectations.  I was right.  My friend Karima told me that every home in Morocco has their own special Ras el Hanout recipe, and my Tangine cookbook said the same thing, but  I don’t have an old family tradition for Ras el Hanout, so I bought it already made.  I also bought preserved lemons (lemons preserved in lemon juice and salt), and Harissa paste (hot, hot, hot) and couscous, which they had from every couscous eating country!  It was an adventure. 
I served it with a shredded carrot salad and a tomato, cucumber and onion salad – and of course, couscous.  Don’t forget the mint tea at the end!

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