Fish Stew with Fennel and Harissa

Fish stew/tagine is a Northern Moroccan delicacy made in coastal cities like Tangiers, Tetouan and Larache where fish is abundant and affordable. But it is also made in different parts of the country although less frequently in more interior regions which specialize more in lamb, beef and chicken. Chermoula may be the most known preparation for a fish tagine but a simple preparation, like this one, with tomato sauce and vegetables is commonly made as well. My mother often added potatoes and carrots to this dish. I have followed her steps many times but this time I chose fennel.

Fennel brings a unique flavor to this fish stew infusing it with an anise aroma that truly boosts the tomato sauce. The harissa heightens the taste a few notches making this dish particularly good for cold weather.

Fish Stew with Fennel Recipe

4 servings

2 large tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes or harissa
1 pound mahi mahi (or other fish), cut into 4 pieces
1 handful assorted shellfish (optional)
1 small fennel bulb, cut into 2-inch strips
1 ½ cups water

Grate the tomatoes into a large pot and place it on medium heat. Add the olive oil and garlic. Cook for a few minutes then stir in the tomato paste. Season with salt, pepper and pepper flakes. Add the fish, shellfish, fennel and water. Cover with a lid and cook until the fennel is tender and the fish is cooked, 20-25 minutes.

Serve immediately with bread to dunk into the sauce.


27 Responses to “Fish Stew with Fennel and Harissa”

  1. 1

    Couscous & Consciousness — 01/08/2011 @ 12:53 am

    Looks beautiful – I often cook fennel with fish – it is such a wonderfully complimentary flavour to fish. Really like the inclusion of harissa in this.
    Sue :-)

  2. 2

    Chow and Chatter — 01/08/2011 @ 2:23 am

    oh wow love fish stews looks great :)
    have a great weekend Nistrine

  3. 3

    Gregoire Michaud — 01/08/2011 @ 2:42 am

    Looks very yummy! Mahi mahi fits perfectly such a hearty dish – I know what's for dinner tomorrow night :) Thanks for your inspiration!

  4. 4

    Carol Peterman/TableFare — 01/08/2011 @ 3:05 am

    Stunning color! I love harissa and bet it's great in this stew.

  5. 5

    Elisabeth — 01/08/2011 @ 3:43 am

    Hi Nisrine-So glad to find your blog unexpectedly just by browsing through my latest followers blogs who follow others, as well…including yours.
    Your fish stew caught my eye, first because your fish stew is so beautiful and delicious, and second, because I have not seen any Moroccon inspired blog, other than yours. You have some amazing dishes, and desserts…just a few that I've seen.
    I'm following your blog, and invite you to visit mine, and follow, as well!
    I also have a $50. gift certificate giveaway from CSN, which will end this Sunday!

  6. 6

    Tanvi@SinfullySpicy — 01/08/2011 @ 4:24 am

    WoW the simple ingredients you have used in this seafood stew.I am bookmarking this and would specially buy fresh fennel for this lovely looking fragrant stew!

  7. 7

    tasteofbeirut — 01/08/2011 @ 4:46 am

    Absolutely delicious with clean and vibrant flavors, a great dish for a mild tasting fish.

  8. 8

    Tamanna — 01/08/2011 @ 5:01 am

    wow this looks like real comfort food to me! yummy ! i love prawns =)
    thanks for dropping by my site and feel free to enter this dish to my Comfort Food Event!
    now i m off to check out your book, looks gorgeous

  9. 9

    ♥peachkins♥ — 01/08/2011 @ 5:43 am

    I love this. I swear I'd eat more fish this year so I'm collecting yummy fish recipe,Thanks for this one Nisrine!

  10. 10

    pierre — 01/08/2011 @ 9:26 am

    bonjour Nisrine
    tout le soleil du Maroc dans ton plat !!et une bonne année 2011 pleine de saveurs !!!

  11. 11

    Cathy — 01/08/2011 @ 2:14 pm

    What a lovely way to prepare fresh fish. I want to add more of it to our diet and will try your preparation.

  12. 12

    the constant hunger — 01/08/2011 @ 3:13 pm

    This is the type of recipe that I love making, simple, yet satisfying and full of bold flavors. I know very little about Moroccan cuisine but I've been wanting to learn for a while now and needed a good source for authentic recipes. You are now my official source, Nisrine. Thanks!

  13. 13

    Emily Z — 01/08/2011 @ 6:53 pm

    What a beautiful stew. Such perfect flavors for a cold day.

  14. 14

    Lindsay — 01/08/2011 @ 7:46 pm

    This looks delicious! I don't cook with fennel often, but I'm going to try this one for sure!

  15. 15

    Chef E — 01/08/2011 @ 8:20 pm

    I just had an eye opening experience, and realized I have failed to make a fish stew at all. I have a tagine and now a new clay baking dish from Spain, so there is not excuse. This is beautiful, and the flavor sounds wonderful to my palate! Thanks!

  16. 16

    Dimah — 01/08/2011 @ 8:29 pm

    Wonderful! Looks so yummy!

  17. 17

    Katie@Cozydelicious — 01/08/2011 @ 10:45 pm

    This soup looks delicate and I love the fennel addition. Fennel goes so wonderfully with fish. Yum!

  18. 18

    Courtney — 01/09/2011 @ 3:13 am

    This stew looks so comforting as it's been so snowy lately.
    Thanks for sharing :)

  19. 19

    Fresh Local and Best — 01/09/2011 @ 3:39 am

    This stew looks so good! I've made seafood stews before with fish, shrimp and fennel in a tomato broth, it's so comforting. Sometimes I add a splash of Pernod to heighten that licorice flavor.

  20. 20

    Lael Hazan @educatedpalate — 01/09/2011 @ 1:58 pm

    Lovely photos and interesting recipe. Do you ever use Grouper in the stew? I too enjoy the light taste of fennel; however, I've never paired it with harissa. I look forward to the try. Thanks

  21. 21

    SavoringTime in the Kitchen — 01/09/2011 @ 3:28 pm

    This looks delicious! In my recent soup mode, Cioppino has been on my mind to prepare in the near future. I love the addition of the fennel and harissa! Beautiful photos.

  22. 22

    Jamie — 01/10/2011 @ 4:54 am

    Wonderful recipe. Fish stew with a North Africa twist is just what we crave and this is a beautiful yet simple recipe. Love fennel, too.

  23. 23

    Emily — 01/10/2011 @ 6:20 pm

    I'm always looking for new ways to eat fish – this looks delicious!

  24. 24

    Carolyn Jung — 01/11/2011 @ 12:15 am

    Fennel, tomatoes and seafood go magically together. A little Pernod would be fab in that, too. ;)

  25. 25

    Cara — 01/11/2011 @ 6:45 pm

    I've been looking at some chermoula recipes, and not to say they are so complicated, but I love the simplicity of this dish – it could easily be prepared on a weeknight. I also love the use of fennel with the tomato broth. I am adding this to our to-make list!

  26. 26

    A Canadian Foodie — 01/12/2011 @ 4:37 pm

    This looks really flavourful. I would never think to do this, yet so logical. Why so little harissa… is it that you make yours so so so hot?

  27. 27

    Jhonny walker — 02/12/2011 @ 6:56 am

    this is one good fish stew! i love fennel and harissa is just supper awesome a spice :)

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