Fish tagine with preserved lemon and mint

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The warmer weather is here at full tilt.  I just love this time of year.  Spring and Fall are my favorite seasons in this part of the world.  The summers here can get too hot and humid, so I make the most of these off-summer months when so much can be accomplished without breaking a sweat.

I’m always excited to shed those winter clothes too.  Switching from wintry comfort foods to light and airy meals evokes the sounds and smells of summer.  The warm weather is here to stay, so what better way to celebrate the end of winter than this classic tagine dish from North Africa?  A tagine is essentially a glorified stew.  The tagine vessel itself is a shallow and round earthenware pot with a unique conical lid designed to lock in moisture and flavors in a small amount of liquid.  Aromatic, syrupy, zesty and spicy come to mind when I think of tagine dishes and this one surely fits the bill.

IMG_6970Assembling the ingredients for the chermoula


Fish tagine with preserved lemon and mint

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Print


  • 2 lb fresh fish such as cod or haddock cut into large chunks
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion finely
  • 2 carrots finely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs finely chopped
  • 1 preserved lemon finely chopped
  • 1 14oz can of plum tomatoes with their juice
  • 2/3 cup fish sauce or water
  • 2/3 cup white wine or sherry
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • a bunch of fresh mint leaves, finely shredded

For the chermoula

  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 red chile, seeded and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • a small bunch of cilantro
  • a pinch of saffron threads
  • 1-2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon harissa paste
  • freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon


  1. First, make the chermoula.  Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and chile with the salt to form a paste.  Add the cilantro leaves and pound to a coarse paste.  Beat in the saffron threads and cumin and bind well with the olive and lemon juice (you can whizz all the ingredients together in an electric blender, if you prefer).  Reserve 2 teaspoons of the mixture for cooking.  Toss the fish chunks in the remaining chermoula, cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  2. Heat the oil in a tagine or heavy-based casserole dish.  Stir in the onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened.  Add the preserved lemon (reserving a little for garnishing) with the reserved 2 teaspoons of chermoula and the tomatoes and stir in well.  Cook gently for about 10 minutes to reduce the liquid, then add the stock and the wine.  Bring the liquid to a boil, cover the tagine, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Toss the fish in the tagine, cover and cook gently for 6-8 minutes, until the fish is cooked through. Season to taste with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the reserved preserved lemon and the shredded mint leaves, and serve immediately over couscous.


A symphony of colors, a perfect matrimony of flavors.  Adios winter!

Linking this post to Fiesta Friday #116  Today’s co-hosts are Judi @ cookingwithauntjuju and Cynthia @ eatmunchlove

Thanks ladies, and thank you Angie for being such a great host week after week!

57 Replies to “Fish tagine with preserved lemon and mint”

  1. What a beautiful dish Loretta! John just got back from a fishing trip and I have about 50 pounds of fish in the freezer. This is a great recipe for it. I don’t have a tagine. I know it makes a difference, but can I use a dutch oven? I agree that this nice weather is prompting me to want to eat lighter (thank goodness). We are still flirting with 40 and this weekend 80. Crazy! I am ready for the warmer days but like you, not hot and humid!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow you have 50 pounds of fish in your freezer Julie? Oh my lucky you!! What types of fish do you have? I absolutely love seafood, and could happily live on seafood and veggies which we seem to be doing more of lately. You don’t need a tagine at all, it’s just a conversation piece, your dutch oven will work just fine. I’ve been so busy in the garden these days that it is interfering with my blogging schedule 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Freda….I have used the tagine vessel about 3 times now and it always seems to be a conversation piece, in addition to the wonderful flavors that get locked in. Thanks for stopping, enjoy your weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thumbs up to your fish tagine Loretta. I have a tagine that I still have not used – did you know they make cute little ones to hold spices? Looks like a great recipe with lots of good flavors. Thanks for coming to the party and sharing with all of the bloggers at Fiesta Friday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Judi. The tagines can be quite cumbersome can’t they? But it is definitely a conversation piece once it is out and in use. I don’t believe I’ve seen the spice holders, I’ll bet they are cute! Loved the fish tagine, it will definitely be repeated again. Thanks too for co-hosting Judi, really appreciate it.


    1. I’ll bet you’ll be more than happy once you buy the tagine Justine. I have a recipe book just for tagine dishes, and I must say I’ve not been disappointed yet. Good luck with yours, you should definitely grace your kitchen with one 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. omg Loretta!. This looks so irresistible to me! I love fish and I am so going to try this recipe. WIll it work as good without a tagine? And do you make your own preserved lemons? WHere can I get them?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love fish myself Indu, so you can’t go wrong with this. You don’t really need a tagine, but perhaps a dish that you can slow cook with the flavors locked in? I do make my own preserved lemons, it is very simple, you can find any recipe online, I went with the Williams Sonoma recipe – you can also buy it at Whole Foods if you choose not to make them at home. Glad you liked the recipe, it was nice to have you visit 🙂


  4. I have always wanted a tagine. And when my sister travelled to Morocco, I asked her to get me nothing but a tagine. She bought me everything else but the tagine!! I was so mad 😄 I think I should just go to Amazon. This sounds delicious, Loretta!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Angie. I recall you telling me that on my last tagine post. So why don’t you visit Morocco yourself instead of Amazon? 🙂 That way you can choose the array of patterns and colors that these vessels come in.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I do have a deep passion of preserved lemons… Never thought to make the tajine with fish and preserved lemons, I made just with chicken! I am going to make this very soon! Thanks for sharing


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