One-Pot Wonders

Fish Tagine with Chermoula, Preserved Lemon, and Green Olives

October  7, 2009
1 Ratings
  • Serves 8-10
Author Notes

This tagine is based on one my mother ate week after week when she was a vegetarian living in Tangier. Now back in the states, it is her go-to dish for entertaining a crowd. This tagine has all the winning comfort qualities of a rich tomato based stew, but the preserved lemon and green olives add another layer of flavor that makes our dinner guests all the more impressed by the balance of the ingredient combination, and how it showcases the delicate white fish. —PhoebeLapine

What You'll Need
  • For the Stew
  • 4 pounds Flaky white fish, such as cod, haddock, or Mahi Mahi
  • 2 large Vidalia onions, grated
  • 2 preserved lemons, finely chopped
  • 1 28 oz can diced plum tomatoes with their juice
  • 1 1/2 cups fish stock or water
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 cup mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup pitted green olives
  • For the marinade, “Chermoula”
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/3 - 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • Pinch saffron threads (optional)
  • 1 small red chile pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
  1. In a food processor, combine all ingredients for the chermoula. Reserve ¼ cup of the mixture, and combine the rest with the fish fillets in a mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 -2 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 3 or so tablespoons of oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pot) in a large Dutch oven or casserole dish over a medium flame. Sauté the onion until softened. Add the reserved chermoula, preserved lemon, and tomatoes. Gently simmer for ten minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally. Add the stock, wine, and olives, and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the tagine, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes.
  3. When the fish has finished marinating, add it to the pot, and cook covered for 6-8 minutes, until the fish is cooked through. Stir in half the mint, and garnish with the remaining leaves.
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Phoebe is a writer, gluten-free chef, culinary instructor, award-winning blogger, and author of The Wellness Project. You can find her healthy comfort food and gluten-free finds on

5 Reviews

Frankie August 24, 2013
sbf-ct, I had the same problem and I just used thin sliced strips of lemon peel. It worked great. This recipe is primo, and not hard at all. A total crowd pleaser, young and old.
Lindz July 26, 2013
This was fabulous, I sadly did not have any coriander so had to use all parsley - still fabulous.
sbf-ct October 2, 2012
This sounds positively delicious, and a wonderful variety to serving fish! Can I used fresh lemons in place of preserved? If not.. how does one "preserve" lemons for this dish? Many thanks.. I'm excited to try it either way!
AntoniaJames June 15, 2010
When you say "2 preserved lemons," what do you mean? I have lemons of all different sizes in my jars, some cut in half, some in quarters, etc., to fit. Can you estimate how much of finely chopped lemon you use in this recipe? I'm going to try this one, I hope, tomorrow! Thank you. ;o)
Brenna April 20, 2010
This sounds wonderful. I used to serve chermoula as a salad dressing at a restaurant I worked in, using a 'recipe' that was by word of mouth by the sous chef. I used it to dip fresh vegetables into, and I'm sure I would have drunk it by the cupful. It did not include saffron, and the sound of the richness in that with white fish makes me swoon. It sounds like it would pair so nicely with riesling, and served late on a Monday night with something sinfully starchy.