Sunday, July 06, 2008

Fish and Fresh Fennel Tagine

You can't get any fresher than this. The dirt from my garden is still clumped to the fennel roots. The aniseed perfume is so much stronger than any supermarket bulb, left wilting on the shelves for who knows how long. The crunch as the knife slices through the crisp layers is almost deafening. The pleasure of eating something grown from scratch, and with a little love, is immeasurable.

Fish was on the menu last night and fennel and fish are a marriage made in heaven. This is yet another Moroccan inspired recipe which I adapted from my latest cookbook purchase, Moroccan Modern by Hassan M'Souli, a restaurateur from Sydney. I know I'm going to get my money's worth from this book, the recipes are just fabulous.

This dish is abundant with coriander and parsley. The tomato chermoula is so versatile in it's uses, as a marinade, or even as a sauce for pasta marinara, I think I will always make double the recipe from now on.

Pam, who cooks, sews and knits in her "spare time" from Sidewalk Shoes is kindly hosting Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging this week.

Fish tagine


  • 4 x 2 inch thick firm fish fillets (try swordfish, dhufish, Ling or cod fillets)
  • 2 cups of tomato chermoula (see recipe below)
  • 1 large fennel bulb (the original recipe used celery sliced lengthways)
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 small red capsicum
  • 1 small green capsicum
  • 2 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 2 cups of fish stock
  • A handful of kalamata olives
  • 1 preserved lemon cut into wedges
  • 4 roma tomatoes halved and roasted
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander


Marinate your fish fillets in the tomato chermoula for at least two hours.

Slice the fennel (or celery) and place slices parallel across the tagine base. This stops food from sticking and burning to the bottom.

Next place the fish fillets over the fennel. Next slice the carrot diagonally in 1cm slices. Peel and slice the potatoes in the same fashion. Deseed and remove membranes from capsicums and slice the flesh to be double the thickness of the potatoes. The slices need to be varied accordingly so that they all cook in time.

Alternate the carrot & potato slices around the outer edge of the tagine and on top of the fish. Place the capsicums in alternating colours on top of the whole dish.

Mix the tomato chermoula with the tomato paste and fish stock and whisk until well combined. Pour over the vegetables and the fish, and top with olives and preserved lemon wedges.

Cover with tagine lid and simmer over a low heat for 45 minutes.

Serve the fish tagine directly to the table, garnished with tomatoes and sprinkle with fresh coriander.
Tomato Chermoula

Tomato Chermoula is a great accompaniment for seafood dishes.


  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 brown onions diced
  • 4 x 400g cans of crushed tomatoes
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander
  • Salt & pepper


Gently heat the oil in a saucepan and sauté the garlic and onion until soft. Add the tomatoes, cumin, and lemon juice. Simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the fresh herbs and remove from heat. Season to taste. This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.


Kalyn said...

Great looking fennel. Mine is doing rather poorly. I'm thinking it's not getting enough water over on the edge of the garden. This sounds delicious.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

That looks great! I have been wanting this cookbook for a while - now I want it even more. Your fennel is beautiful! I wish I could grow a nice garden...

Pam said...

Thanks Kalyn, as this is the first time I've grown fennel, I'm not sure whether too much or too little water may be your problem. I guess I have beginners luck. But it is somewhat cooler here than you're experiencing at the moment.

Hi Jenndz, you won't be disappointed with this book. The chicken with lemon and olives tagine is my absolute favourite. Every dish is so full of flavour.

Katie said...

Yum! There is nothing better than pulling something from the ground with your own hands, cooking it and eating it.

Denise said...

What wonderful pictures you have and the recipes sound delish! Great blog!


Anonymous said...

That fennel looks fantastic Pam. I think however it may be blocking the view i was hoping to get of the Lemsip on the bench. Not to worry though, as i have mentioned previously, Tagines (ta-jine-as) are great for cooking. I love the aniseed flavour that the fennel gives off and would infuse nicely with the fish. I heard on the grapevine that your daughter has an upcoming birthday. Could you possibly send her my well wishes along with that handsome yound boyfriend of hers.

Pam said...

Hi Katie, my sentiments exactly. Somehow it always tastes better, because you know where it's come from.

Thanks Denise, I should have paired this dish with a delicious local white wine, as wineries around here are a dime a dozen.

Hi Bunny, the Lemsip is tucked away for your next visit. Perhaps you should eat more of my cooking and you wouldn't get so many colds! I will wish my daughter a happy birthday and I'm sure her handsome "yound" (should that be young or hound?) boyfriend will bestow her with lots of expensive gifts! Avagoodweegend you two xx

Natashya said...

Mmmm.. I love Moroccan food. I have a tajine on my b-day wish list. Your fennel is amazing, huge and so fresh.
Great WHB! And thanks for the tip on the book.

Pam said...

Hi Natashya, I hope your birthday wish comes true. Perhaps you could hint about the book as well;) I love cooking tagines, firstly for their simplicity (one pot) and the combination of flavours.