Last week I came across red snapper at our grocery store. This must have been some weird fluke because generally it doesn’t show up here – ever. Of course I bought some. I knew that I wanted to do a review of Mourad Lahlou’s new cookbook this week and found the recipe for Black Cod in Saffron Broth. I felt that it wasn’t really fair to review something without making at least one of the recipes first. I decided to give the black cod recipe a go with the red snapper and a few variations. I followed the recipe closely but made a few changes, obviously the fish is different. His recipe also calls for pea shoots, which are long out of season so frozen peas had to do the trick. Here is my take on Chef Lahlou’s recipe.
- 10 red potatoes cleaned
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 lb of red snapper filleted
- 1 tsp saffron threads
- 2 cups vegetable broth or seafood stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tsp liquid of preserved lemons
- 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- Clean and place potatoes in a pan of salted water. Remove the skin from the garlic cloves and mash slightly or chop and add to the water. Boil potatoes for 10-15 minutes until just tender. Don't over cook them because they will be cooked further in the oven.
- While potatoes are cooking prepare the broth. In another saucepan add the broth or stock, bayleaf, and crushed saffron threads. Boil for 5 minutes until the saffron releases. You should be able to smell the saffron. It has a creamy, smooth flavor that reminds me slightly of butter.
- Prepare your tajine. Preheat the oven to 300F. In the bottom of the tajine add the olive oil. When the potatoes are ready, drain the water and pull out the potatoes. You can choose to remove the garlic or add it to the tajine. Lay the potatoes in a flat layer in the tajine, cutting the larger potatoes in half.
- Cut the fillets of snapper into small portions (see picture) and arrange on top of the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle the preserved lemon liquid on top of the fish. Finally, pour the saffron broth in with the potatoes. The liquid should NOT reach the fish. Cover the tajine and place in the oven.
- Allow to cook 45 minutes. It is very important to keep the lid of the tajine closed as much as possible. Check at 45 minutes. You want the fish to start flaking. When this happens it is done. At the very end of the cooking process add the frozen peas and cover the tajine again. The peas should be ready within 10 minutes.
- Serve hot with bread to scoop up the fish and juice. This sauce is thinner than most Moroccan tajines. You can choose to remove some of the liquid or leave it.
Overall this recipe got a thumbs up. We really liked the saffron broth, it was soft but had enough flavor. MarocBaba was leery because there aren’t many spices used in this recipe. I think next time I would doctor it up a little more with some cumin and more garlic. However it is a very light dish and a good choice especially for someone looking for a filling but light dish.
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