Sunday, May 1, 2011

Subtle Food

Nobody likes food that advertises itself as "nutritious", "low fat", "low carb", or "diet." Well, maybe with the exception of diet coke, but nobody who drinks that is fooled into actually thinking it's full of healthy goodness.

As the editors keep saying, Show, Don't Tell. So this one doesn't say anything about being healthy, and serves 3-4 people.

Moroccan Fish Tagine

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 yellow onion, diced,
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced (or diced)
2 tomatoes, diced
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3-4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 lb shrimp, or 1-1/4 lb white sea fish cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1 tin sliced mushrooms, drained
2 Tablespoons tahini (it does have other uses than hummus!)
1 Tablespoon lemon or orange zest
1 Tablespoon fresh-chopped parsley, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 Tablespoon fresh-chopped cilantro, or 1 teaspoon dried
1/2 teaspoon salt (if needed)

Serve with couscous or turmeric rice

Get out a large saucepan. I'm not kidding about large - look at all that stuff that's going to end up in the same pan, and pick your volume accordingly. Start dicing vegetables (and fish, if you're using that.) Contemplate your zest choices - if you only have dried parsley and cilantro, orange goes much better, but if you have fresh, then lemon complements the boldness of fresh-cut flavor better. Once you start cooking, this recipe takes about twenty minutes, so if you want rice, start the water before you start the main dish.

Anyway, that saucepan. Heat the olive oil, and saute the onion and bell pepper until soft but not browned, about 8 minutes on medium. Add the garlic and tomatoes and saute until the tomatoes are soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cumin and paprika, about another minute.

If you're serving with couscous, and you haven't already, now is the time to start the couscous.

Pour in the stock, and raise the heat to high. When it boils, add the meat and mushrooms. When it returns to a boil, turn the heat to low and simmer until the meat is thoroughly opaque. If you are using dried parsley and cilantro, add them while the meat cooks. Three-quarter inch cubes of fish should take about 3 minutes, shrimp about the same.

Stir in the tahini, zest, and fresh-cut parsley and cilantro. Take a quick taste test, and add the salt. (If you had low-sodium broth, you may need it. Regular broth is salty enough you probably won't.)

Grab bowls, add a cup of freshly cooked hot rice or couscous, and ladle in the tagine. Serve immediately.

With dried herbs, the flavors are all subtle; with fresh ones, they'll be a little brighter, but still subtle. And as you're is enjoying it, the fact that it's heart-healthy is so subtle it can be ignored entirely.


  1. Turmeric rice is simple, brightly colored, and very gently flavored. For this dish, boil 3 cups of water with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 to 1/3 teaspoon turmeric. Add 1-1/2 cups rice, turn the burner to low, cover, and let cook for 20 minutes.

    In other words, exactly like normal rice, with a little turmeric added to the water.

  2. Midwest Chick, Mr. B and I went to Penzeys when they came to visit and we found Turmeric. That stuff is expensive, but well worth it.

    The recipe looks wonderful. A much better "I need to eat a healthy meal" to my yoghurt and apple right now.

  3. Sounds good, but I mis-read it as Fish TAGLINE... sigh...

  4. YUM

    Will have to give that one a try.