Tajine Tunisien

February 7th, 2009 by Francis

Tajine TunisienSo here is a yummy, simple recipe we learnt from the lovely Madame Benkhala in Tunis. Tunisian tajines have nothing to do with their Moroccan  culinary cousin. Instead, they are kind of like big, fat omelette, made with a variety of extra fillings, and sometimes (but not always) wrapped in very thin pastry sheets – feuilles de brik about 25cm across. We made a tuna and potato tajine.

Probably the only difficult bit of this dish is finding the feuilles de brik pastry sheets, but I think you could get away with using filo pastry or something. Otherwise, if you’re in Cambridge, hunting in some of the shops on Mill Road (e.g. Spice Gate or Al Amin) might turn up the real thing. We brought ours back with us, and have a stack of them frozen!

We made tagine au thon, which serves 4.
The somewhat modified list of ingredients is:

5 potatoes, boiled and diced (or diced and boiled, if you want!) in some salted water
1 can of tuna (preferrably in brine, but it’s not a big deal)
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
1tbsp capers, rinsed
2 tbsp black olives, halved(those hard, pitted ones, rather than squidy ones, if possible)
6 fresh eggs, beaten
6 feuilles de brik
butter, in small knobs, for sticking the pastry together
1tsp turmeric / dried herbs *
pepper, salt

* OK, so you’re supposed to use turmeric, but I didn’t do that this time. Instead, I used a special herb mix that Mme. Benkhala gave us in a big jar (so that’s not much use to you, dear reader!). It smells and tastes as though it contains mint, sage, and maybe some tarragon. There might be other stuff, too… it is a kind of Tunisian herbes de provence! :) Basically, if you chuck in a mixture of dried mint, sage, basil, you’ll do all right.

Equipment: a wide, flat, ovenproof dish – we use a quiche / tart dish – too deep, and it’ll takes ages to cook; large mixing bowl; dish; can opener; wooden spoon; fish slice; glass of red wine… you get the idea.

Pre-heat your oven to 1800C / gas mark 5.

Cooking

La Main de FatmaOff we go!

Cut up your potatoes into big chunks, or just dice them now. Boil them in salted water, but don’t let them stay in there so long that they begin to disintegrate. More par boiling than school dinners.

Optionally, you can fry them in a bit of oil, to make them more golden, but that’s up to you. As long as they’re cooked.

Put the cooked, diced potatoes, tuna, capers, olives, dried herbs and the 6 raw eggs together in  the bowl and mix them together.

Pimp my Spanish OmeletteButter the dish that you going to cook it all in. Overlap three of the pastry sheets at the bottom, kind of like a Venn diagram, with the extra area hanging over the side of the dish. Put all your mixture in the middle, arrange your slices of hard boiled egg on top, seaon a bit more and fold over the pastry sheets.

With some little knobs of butter in between, lay the remaining three pastry sheets on top in a similar pattern as the others. Try to tuck them down the sides of the dish without raw egg slopping everywhere!

Put it in the oven for about 25 – 30mins, and Robert est ton oncle!

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One Response to “Tajine Tunisien”

  1. Rob Says:

    Had a go mate. Not so pretty as yours though :-)

    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/191/3264216184_083f39593b.jpg

    R.

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