At a restaurant in the Middle Atlas town of Ifrane, known as the “Little Switzerland” of Morocco, I finally tasted the famous regional lake trout. The fish, I learned, was served in numerous ways: fried, in tagines, and, as in this recipe, gently poached in a lovely light broth. The dish reminded me of a mountain lake trout preparation I learned from the famous French chef Michel Bras. I’ve based the recipe below on his technique, but the dish is totally Moroccan in character.
(Serves 2 to 4)
8 ounces lake trout or Arctic char fillets
Coarse salt and freshly ground
3 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro
2 large spring onions or 1 bunch scallions, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and sliced about 1/8 inch thick on a slight diagonal
1 medium carrot, scraped and sliced about 1/8 inch thick on a slight diagonal
1 teaspoon honey, such as orange blossom, jujube, eucalyptus, or thyme
1 preserved lemon, pulp removed, rind rinsed and cut into ¼-inch dice
1 tablespoon golden raisins, soaked in water for 10 minutes and drained
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1. Cut the fillets into small pieces. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne. Put on a plate, scatter a small amount of the cilantro on top, cover with plastic, and refrigerate.
2. Simmer the spring onions or scallions and carrots in 3 cups water in a 10-inch deep skillet until tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Add the honey, preserved lemon, raisins, pine nuts, and a little salt and pepper to the vegetables and bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. (The soup can be made in advance up to this point; bring to a simmer before proceeding. Add more water if necessary to keep the mixture submerged by about 1 inch.)
4. Slip in the pieces of fish and cook gently until the fish is silky smooth and tender, about 10 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, drizzle with the extra virgin olive oil, scatter with the remaining cilantro, and serve.