Morocco is a nation of food-lovers… We especially love to eat fish in Morocco, and it seems that the further we live from the Coast, the more we eat it! Yes, even along the frontier of the Sahara Desert, at least once a week fish will be served at home.
Did you know that there is a souk in Ouarzazate that sells fresh fish every Tuesday and Saturday? Ouarzazate is a 6.5 hour drive (380 km) from Agadir port. In M’hamid El Ghezlane, you can buy fresh fish at the Monday souk. M’hamid El Ghezlane, as you know, is in the Moroccan Sahara, but we’ve often enjoyed butterflied sardines at home there.
Undoubtedly, one of the best meals I’ve eaten in Morocco was in the palm grove outside Tagounite – a sardine tagine. Tagounite is just 35km before the Sahara Desert! It might have been the setting of our meal, a family farmstead amidst the palms and olive trees, but it was indeed a memorable tagine.
Just last week, we were also delighted to try a fish tagine (‘ombrine’, in French) at Kasbah Ellouze, Tamdaght (near Ouarzazate). It was a superb dish and we can’t wait to try Michel Guillen’s recipe ourselves. We copy the recipe here for anyone else who would like to try it.
You will need a tagine to cook in, or at least a large cooking pot (with lid) to cook on a gas/electric hob. Sizeable enough for 4-6 people.
The ombrine fish (English translation as croaker or drum fish) is a large bony white fish, which should be cut into large chunks before cooking.
1. Prepare a chermoula marinade (typical marinade in Morocco for fish/seafood) by combining finely chopped tomatoes, fresh coriander, salt, pepper, cumin, ginger, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil. Add the fish pieces to the marinade and leave for approx. 1 hour.
2. Add ingredients to the tagine itself – add diced carrots on the base, then the marinated fish, slices of potato, peas, some strips of green pepper, lemon slices and two large tomato slices on top. Thereafter, add more of the chermoula mix to garnish the vegetables. Green olives may also be added.
3. Cover and cook for approx. 45mins on a medium-low heat.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us for any further information. We also recommend cookery schools in Marrakech.
Note: Credit taste.com.au for the tagine image, sourced on Google