Every dinner must have a fish or vegetarian option, especially since we keep growing in number. Morocco is surrounded by two huge bodies of water, so there are actually quite a few fish recipes out there, despite the fact that Morocco is known for meats and couscous. But which dish to choose? I became a bit infatuated with almond and everything during this meal, so I decided to stuff the fish with almonds and sugar. I am very proud of this dish, it turned out beautifully, and with how easy this recipe is, I am sure I will be making it constantly all summer. I originally planned this recipe for red snapper, but when I got to the Korean market, they only had tiny 1 pound fish or giant 15 pounders, you are looking for a 3-4 pound creature for this recipe. If you have a different sized fish, feel free to scale the recipe. The bass worked as beautifully as red snapper has, I am glad I gave it a chance.
I baked this dish while my guests were enjoying the Moroccan Salad Course and Chicken Bastilla, the 50 minute baking time was perfect for us! If it finishes early, just leave it to rest in a turned-off oven. Easy, peasy!
You can also prepare and plate the fish in advance and store it in the fridge until you are ready to bake. I prepared mine in the morning and left it in the fridge while I worked on the Lamb and Duck Couscous and Chicken and Tomato Tagine we served alongside this dish for our main course.
Almond Stuffed Snapper or Bass
1 large red snapper or bass (3-4 pounds)
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cup ground almonds
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 large onions, sliced thinly
pinch of saffron in 3 tablespoons water
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Rinse fish and dry with paper towels.
Season heavily with salt and pepper. Wait a few minutes and then pat dry again.
Combine almonds, sugar, and cinnamon. Melt half the butter and add to the almond mixture. Add orange blossom water, onions, and enough water to make a paste.
stuff half of the paste in the inner cavity of the fish.
Add saffron water to the remaining almond paste.
Cover top of fish with the paste and make a cool pattern on the top.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with remaining melted butter.
Bake for 59-60 minutes until the fish is cooked through and the almond crust is golden and lightly browned at the edges. The almond paste should look a bit dry and crumbly at this point.
Total cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes, serves 6 alone, or 18-20 as part of a larger meal with couscous and tagine.