Many shellfish tagines are not so much traditional as they are inspired by cultural influences, such as the prawn/shrimp and mussel tagines of Tangier that resemble the cooking of Andalusia across the Mediterranean Sea. Serve this tagine as a first or second course with chunks of crusty bread.
Heat 2–3 tablespoons of the olive oil in the base of a tagine or a heavy-based casserole. Add the prawns and cook for 2–3 minutes, until they turn opaque. Using a slotted spoon, remove the prawns from the tagine and set aside. Keep the oil in the pan.
Stir the onion, garlic, ginger and saffron into the oil and sauté for 3–4 minutes, until they begin to colour. Add the paprika, tomatoes and half the herbs. Stir in the sugar and season with salt and pepper. Cook gently, partially covered, for about 10 minutes until the mixture thickens to form a sauce.
Meanwhile, steam the fennel for about 5 minutes, until it softens. Heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan and add the steamed fennel. Cook gently on both sides for 4–5 minutes, until it turns golden. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Toss the cooked prawns in the tomato sauce, place the fennel on top, cover with the lid, and cook gently for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining coriander and parsley immediately before serving.
The Modern Tagine Cookbook by Ghillie Başan, published by Ryland Peters & Small (£9.99)
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