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Want to know a little insider secret?
There’s no such place that has existed in history as Rick’s Cafe – never was.
Flocks of tourists visit Casablanca every year to find it, and they do find a Rick’s Cafe but it’s a restaurant built in the 1990’s to evoke the movie fame. It’s interesting to watch this movie, knowing a bit of history surrounding the area during that time. Casablanca was certainly an international city though it’s safe to say English wasn’t the language d’jour. (You can read all about Casablanca in 1942 in this post I wrote).
The first time I went to Casablanca it wasn’t at all what I expected. It looks like every other large city in the developing world. While I am sure there are some very nice parts of town, the places I’ve been have not been anywhere I would want to live long term.
Because Casablanca is a port city, fish and seafood is fresh and plentiful. It’s very easy to buy fish for only a dollar or two. Up and down the Moroccan coast there are variations of tajines, stuffed fish, and other seafood dishes specific to that region and sometimes even a specific city. This fish tajine can be found in Casablanca. It’s easy to make and even if you think you don’t like fish, well you may just change your mind after trying this!
- one large handful of Italian parsley
- 1 tsp kosher salt or sea salt
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp hot paprika
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 lb thick, white fish such as cod, haddock, or halibut
- 6 whole carrots peeled, and halved
- 1 large tomato
- 1 green pepper
Preparing the Marinade
- If you have a mortar and pestle add the parsley, minced garlic, and sea salt to the mortar and break it down using the pestle. If you don't have this, simply add the ingredients to a bowl and use the back of a spoon to break them down.
- When you have broken down the parsley and garlic, add the cumin, hot paprika, and lemon juice. Stream in a little bit of water so that there is an easy to pour marinade.
- Clean your fish fillets, removing all of the skin from the fish. This may be difficult however you will not want the skin in the tajine.
- Coat the fish with the marinade and place on a plate or in a large bowl.
- Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes - 2 hours. The longer you allow it to sit the more flavorful the fish will be.
- While you are waiting for the fish, begin to prepare the vegetables. Peel and cut the carrots into halves. Wash the tomato and slice horizontally into several thin slices, discard the top and stem. Wash and cut the top off of a green pepper. Scoop out the seed and cut horizontally into thin slices.
- Once the fish has marinated begin to prepare the tajine. I used an unglazed clay tajine. If you don't have a tajine you can use a heavy bottomed pot with a lid.
- Start by layering the carrots in the bottom of the vessel.
- Next add the fish, then the tomatoes, and finally the green peppers.
- Pour the rest of the marinade from the bowl on top of the tajine.
- Finally, add 1/4 cup of water around the outer edges.
- Turn the heat to low and cover the tajine.
- Leave untouched for 20-30 minutes.
- After this time, quickly uncover and check the water level. If it is low add a little more to the outer edges. If not, re-cover and leave alone for another 20 minutes.
- The tajine is done when the fish is flaking, the liquid has reduced to a thick sauce and the vegetables are soft to the touch.
Don't have a tajine? Don't worry. Just use a clay baking dish in the oven or a dutch oven on top of the stove to get the same effect. You may need to add a little more liquid and watch more carefully.
If you've always wanted a tajine read my guide to choose the one that is best for you.
Want more easy Moroccan recipes? Click the link!
I hope you enjoy this taste of Casablanca.
I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite quotes from the movie.