Moroccan Fish Tagine with Tomatoes, Olives, and Preserved Lemons

 Recipe from “Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking” by Paula Wolfert
Serves 4

Fish Tagine in a Tagra!

Fish baked in a clay pot takes beautifully to long, slow simmering in the famous complex Moroccan herb-and- spice sauce called charmoula. Ingredients that include garlic, cumin, cilantro, hot pepper, and preserved lemon permeate the flesh of most any type of fish. Add time to the equation and you have a dish that is bright, savory, and exciting to eat. Serve the fish at table directly from the clay baking dish.

Preferred Clay Pot: An 11- or 12-inch Moroccan tagine, or tagra or Spanish cazuela, or 3-quart flameware or La Chamba shallow baking dish
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1½ teaspoons crushed hot red pepper
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fl at-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
4 wedges preserved lemon, rinsed, pulp and peel separated
3 tablespoons fruity extra virgin olive oil
1 pound monkfish fillet or thick slabs of halibut
1 large carrot, very thinly sliced
2 celery ribs, stringed and very thinly sliced
1 pound red ripe tomatoes, peeled with a swivel serrated peeler and sliced into thin rounds
1 small green bell pepper, sliced into very thin rounds
2 dozen Moroccan red (see Note) or picholine olives, rinsed and pitted
2 imported bay leaves
Fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish

1. Early in the day, or a day in advance, toast the cumin seeds by tossing them in a hot, dry conventional skillet over medium heat for about 1 minute. Grind to a powder and set aside. Make the charmoula: In a mortar or blender, combine the garlic, cumin, salt, paprika, parsley, cilantro, the pulp of the preserved lemon, and the olive oil. Puree to a smooth sauce.

2. Rinse the fish and pat dry with paper towels. If using monkfish, cut away the gray membrane and divide the fish into 4 even chunks. Rub half of the charmoula all over the fish, and let stand for 1 hour at room temperature, or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. Add ½ cup water to the remaining charmoula, cover, and refrigerate separately.

3. About 1½ hours before serving, preheat the oven to 300°F. Spread 2 tablespoons of the reserved charmoula sauce over the bottom of the tagine. Scatter the carrot and celery on top. Add half of the tomatoes and bell peppers; sprinkle with a little sauce. Lay the fish over the vegetables and cover with the remaining tomatoes and peppers. Spread the remaining charmoula on top. Scatter the diced preserved lemon peel and the bay leaves around the fish. Cover the dish tightly with a sheet of foil and bake for 1 hour.


Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking by Paula Wolfert


Paula has been good to us. She is an avid lover of clay pot cooking and a collector of clay pots. She never hesitates to recommend our tagines. We are happy, in our small way, to help promote her new book: Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking: Traditional and Modern Recipes to Savor and Share.

Paula, self-described as “the clay pot junkie” has collected clay pots throughout all of her life. In this book, she reveals the ins and outs of clay pot cooking and shares 150 recipes from around the Mediterranean.

Traditional and Modern Recipes to Savor and Share

Traditional and Modern Recipes to Savor and Share

Check out the latest San Francisco Magazine feature on Paula Wolfert!

Job well done Paula!

Hospitality Design Show


We have just concluded a successful trade event at the HD Boutique show in Miami Beach. It is the destination show for hospitality and contract buyers as well as designers seeking the latest in design for hotels and resorts. The attendance was optimistically a great sign of a recovering economy. Thanks to all that have come by our booth!

Moroccan Mint Tea (Atay)


Moroccan mint tea is served before and after meals. It is both sweet and refreshing. In traditional Moroccan culture, it is usually prepared by the elder men of the family. There is no one way to make mint tea as it is very subjective. The best tea maker of the family is guaranteed to always be invited and honored.  The following recipe is based on my late grandfather’s way of preparing tea.

– 4 to 5 cups of water
– 1 x large bunch of fresh Spearmint (peppermint will not do)
– 1 tbsp of green tea (Gun Powder Tea is preferred and you can find it in oriental/chinese stores)
– 4 to 5 table spoons of sugar

Set the water to a full boil. Place the green tea in the teapot. Add 1/4 cup of boiling water, let it sit for 1/2 minute and then pour it out. This allows the tea leaves to open completely.

Add all of the rinsed mint inside the teapot, then add 4-5 tbsp of sugar (to taste). Top with  boiling hot water and let it boil for 2 minutes. Take off stove top and let it sit for another minute.

Pour 1 full glass of hot mint tea and pour it back into the teapot. Repeat this twice. This allows for the sugar to mix without breaking any mint leaves (breaking of mint leaves while mixing with a spoon makes tea a bit bitter).

Photo Courtesy of

Photo Courtesy of

You are now ready to serve Moroccan hot mint tea, preferably with cookies. Hold the teapot a little high from the glass so that the tea foams as it is poured into the tea glasses. This is called the “Tea Turbin”. It is only tradition and it is believed that the larger the turbin the better the tea.

It is optional to add two drops of orange blossom water as it is added only during ceremonial gatherings.

Although it is not necessary, if seeking the full authentic experience, you can find find Moroccan tea pots and beautiful colorful Moroccan tea glasses at Berber Trading Company.

Hospitality Design Show – Miami Beach


This coming week, we are exhibiting at the Hospitality Design Show in Miami Beach, September 14-15, 09. Our booth is located in Hall C #1154. Please come by and introduce yourself. 

Hospitality Design Trade Show - Miami Beach FL

HD Boutique differentiates itself from any other tradeshow you’ve seen with its distinct style and unique venue, creating a more personal event where you can build new relationships and discover the newest products. just got a facelift!


We have just redesigned our website and updated our logo, to reflect a more crisp and easy to navigate approach. We would appreciate your comments.

Our Tagines Just Landed at Caliza Pool!


Coastal Living magazine Goes Moroccan!

Moroccan Cooking

Moroccan Cooking

Join Peggy Markel on September 6, 09 at Caliza Pool as she demonstrates the art of Moroccan cooking. Peggy Markel has become known as a “food guide extraordinaire” (Food and Wine, 2008). Her Adventures “bring visitors directly into places it would take the lone traveler quite some time to discover, if ever.” (More, 2008).

Food editor Julia Rutland will also be heading to Studio B. for a photo shoot with Peggy Markel.

Classes run September 5–6, 2009, so to meet Julia on the sunny Florida Gulf coast and cook with Peggy, register now at Studio B!

Taste of Morocco with Peggy Markel at Caliza Pool!

Potatoes & Green Olives Tagine at The Beach!


We have decided to go vegetarian for dinner tonight. Actually, it was not a choice, we had no meat and nobody would volunteer to go get some, so we opted for Potatoes and green olives tagine. Another simple, yet filling vegetarian tagine.

 Moroccan Potatoes & Olives Tagine INGREDIENTS:
– 2 lbs of red potatoes
– 3 small (or 2 medium) red onions
–  1 tomato
– 1/4 bunch of parsley
– 5 sprigs of cilantro
– 1/4 tsp of turmeric
– 1/4 tsp of ginger
– 1/4 tsp of black pepper
– 1/2 tsp of paprika
– 1 tsp of salt
– 15-20 green olives with some olive juice.
– 1/2 cup of water 

Cut the potatoes in wedges, thinly slice onions, dice tomatoe, and chop the Gently mix all the ingredients, except for the water and the olives, in a mixing bowl then separate the onions from the rest of the ingredients. Place the onions first in the bottom of the tagine, pour the 1/2 cup of water from the edges, then build on top of it with the rest if the ingredients as shown in the photo.

Moroccan Potaotes & Olives Tagine Set the stove top on low heat between Lo and Med and let cook for 45 minutes and check if sauce is too low. If so, add 4 tbsp of water. Add the olive and let slip the olive juice from the edges and cook for 20 more minutes. 

Check the thickest potato wedge with a knife, for tenderness. If it runs through it effortlessly, your  tagine is done.


Okra Tagine at The Beach!



What’s for lunch today? The short answer is vegetarian aka Okra with onions and tomatoes, a vegetarian tagine. A simple, light, yet fulfilling recipe that we cook frequently.

Moroccan Okra Tagine Preparation

Moroccan Okra Tagine Preparation


– 1.5 lbs of okra (we used freshly frozen okra as it is already cleaned and cut. Also, the beach condo has a small kitchen and we try to keep things simple)
– 3 medium tomatoes (we used organic as it was on sale and less expensive than regular vine ripe ones)
– 2 small onions
– 1/4 bunch of parsley
– 1/4 tsp of turmeric
– 1/4 tsp of ginger
– 1/4 tsp of black pepper
– 1 tsp of salt
– 5 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

That’s it. Really!


Clean and cut off the head of okra (see photo), dice tomatoes, thinly slice onions, and chop parsley. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and add all ingredients including the olive oil (see above). Mix it all together and place it in a tagine, a Rifi Tagine in this case.

Mixing it all together

Mixing it all together

Take some of the larger okras and neatly arrange them in a circular fanned fashion to add a pleasant visual component to the tagine and add a 1/4 cup of water.

Set it and Forget it (for only 45 minutes)

Set it and Forget it (for only 45 minutes)

Set the temperature at LO-MED, a setting between low and medium on most stove tops (or a quarter of the way between off and high). Time cooking for 45 minutes and check on the tagine. If sauce is reduced dry, add 2 tbsp of water and let cook for 2 minutes, otherwise, check tenderness of okra and onions. If cooked turn the stove off and let it sit for a few minutes before serving.

Watch it sizzle…




Heading to Sanibel Island



Tagine Cooking & Snorkeling

Tagine Cooking & Snorkeling

As we packed to head to Sanibel Island for a week, one item that could not be left behind was one of the family’s favorite tagines, the Rifi Tagine. It comes from Wad Lao, a village in the Northern Rif mountains of Morocco, hence the name Rifi tagine. Of course the snorkeling gear was just as important!