We like a hot meal in the summer, but it has to be light, and it shouldn’t require a lot of time in the kitchen. This herbed and spiced fish stew needs only a few minutes of preparation, then half an hour to cook. Use organic vegetables if available. Any firm, white fish fillet works well for this recipe. Just make sure it’s safe fish, first. Your best bet is to get a local fresh fish and ask the vendor to fillet it for you. And the stew makes a delicious sauce, so serve plenty of good bread, like these pitas, alongside.
Moroccan Fish Stew
Serves 4 as a main dish, 8 as a hot first course.
1 1/2 kg. firm white fish.
1 package of cilantro, or parsley if preferred
2 onions, halved if only medium-sized, quartered if large
4 large cloves of garlic, peeled and whole. Put in more if you love garlic.
1 large tomato, or 2 medium tomatoes, thickly sliced
1 red or green bell pepper, thickly sliced
4 medium potatoes, thickly sliced
4 carrots, quartered vertically
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder and 1/4 tsp. powdered cumin
1 Tblsp. sweet or hot paprika, according to your taste
salt and pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
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Use a wide, shallow pot, if possible. This is important because the pot liquid is less likely to dry out.
If you’re using frozen fish, thaw it out and put it to soak in cold water to cover; squeeze half a lemon into the water. Let the fish soak for 10 minutes, then rinse it. Fresh fish doesn’t need the lemon water treatment.
Slice the fish into pieces about three fingers wide. Put the slices aside.
Place the cilantro or parsley on the bottom of the pot. Place the vegetables on top of the greens and set the pieces of fish on top of the vegetables.
Sprinkle vegetables and fish with the dry spices.
Pour the olive oil over the whole thing. Add no water, nor any other liquid. The ingredients will release their juices and form a thin, but rich sauce.
Cover the pot and set it over a medium flame. Check it after 20 minutes, making sure that it’s not drying out. When the vegetables are cooked through and the liquid has cooked down to a thin sauce, it’s ready: it should take about 30 minutes total.