created at: 2013-04-10
Recently, my roommate Catherine was tasked with cooking dinner for a family friend’s 16-year-old son, who had to hang back when his family went on vacation. Catherine and I share a kitchen, so I knew that she was planning on serving her go-to meal: Jamie Oliver’s Spicy Moroccan Stewed Fish with Couscous, a simple, flavor-packed pan of white fish and shrimp cooked gently in a broth of tomatoes and clam juice. She cooks it often, and I can attest to how good it is.

But there was a problem with her menu: The boy who she was cooking for keeps kosher. This means no shrimp or clam juice, two of the recipe’s key ingredients. So, instead of simply choosing another dish, Catherine issued me a challenge: Could I kosherize this recipe? In return, I’d have leftover fish stew and fodder for a Chosen Eats post. Challenge accepted!

The first thing I did was lose the shrimp. Obviously, there’s no real alternative, so I just took it out altogether and upped the amount of fish. Finding a replacement for the clam juice was more difficult. The recipe calls for a half cup of it, and simply swapping it out for chicken broth didn’t lend the sauce enough flavor. Instead, I used a briny, salty liquid that you probably have in your refrigerator right now: caper juice. Just a tablespoon of the brine from a jar of capers added fishy punch without the shellfish.

In a side-by-side test, Catherine actually agreed that the kosher version had more flavor, and that even as a shellfish eater, she would gladly make this recipe even when she wasn’t cooking for a kosher friend. Mission accomplished!

Kosher Moroccan Stewed Fish

A kosher version of Jamie Oliver’s Spicy Moroccan Stewed Fish with Couscous

Serve with couscous you’ve cooked separately.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 large garlic cloves, minced
4 5-ounce haddock fillets, each cut in half
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained, juice reserved
1 tablespoon brine from jar of capers
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon chicken broth
½ cup frozen green peas
Fresh basil (optional)

1. Pat fish dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Heat 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil and heat until shimmering. Add cumin, cinnamon, pepper flakes, and garlic. Stir until aromatic, about 1 minute. Place fish on top. Add tomatoes, 1 tablespoon tomato juice, caper brine, and chicken broth. Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat to simmer, and cook until fish is cooked through, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Add peas, making sure they’re submerged in sauce, and allow to warm through, about 2 minutes. Serve with couscous and garnish with basil, if desired.