The word "tagine" means two different things, says Jaafar, "either a traditional stew of meat, poultry or fish, or a conical-shaped, earthenware vessel in which we cook it." Although tagines can be purchased at many better kitchenware stores, it's safe to say that most American kitchens do not contain one. An ordinary baking dish is an acceptable substitute if it is very tightly covered. Tagines are almost always served with couscous, which is the "rice" or "pasta," of Morocco, Jaafar tells us.
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium-sized yellow onion, very finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 flounder or sole fillets, each weighing about 6 ounces
- 1/2 pound (drained weight) pitted Middle Eastern green olives, coarsely chopped
- 1 lemon, very thinly sliced
- Paprika, to taste
- Couscous, cooking according to package directions, for serving
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Use a small amount of olive oil to grease a shallow baking dish that is just large enough to hold the stuffed fillets in 1 layer, and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining olive oil in a medium-size skillet over medium heat. When it is hot, add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring, just until the onion is softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley and pepper, and set aside.
Rinse the fillets and pat dry with paper towels. Lay the fillets out flat on a work surface, inside up. Spread the onion mixture down the center of each fillet, dividing evenly. Fold fillet over the onion mixture, and secure with a couple of toothpicks. Arrange the stuffed fillets in the prepared baking dish. Spoon the chopped olives evenly over the fillets. Arrange the lemon slices over the olives. Drizzle evenly with the remaining olive oil, then sprinkle lightly with paprika.
Cover the baking dish very tightly with aluminum foil, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, and test the fish for doneness. It should flake when lightly touched with a fork. Serve immediately, accompanied by hot couscous.