Tagine. The very word conjured up a magical mirage of Marrakesh and Casablanca, dashing Berbers and belly dancers, hookahs and saffron-laced spicy stews. I gazed at the overpriced albeit charming hand painted glazed clay artifact in the Williams Sonoma store, and in a fit of self-indulgence, bought it. My children were less impressed. “It’s a pot”, explained the world weary, newly minted college graduate. The beatnik teenager sniffed the air hopefully, “Mom bought pot?”
Online, opinions and advice flew in, fast and furious. You’ll need a heat diffuser for the stove top. Don’t place it in a preheated oven. You have to temper it first. Just use it as a serving dish. The clay will leach heavy metals. Never try to wash it until completely cooled. Intimidated, but determined, I applied the same (lack of) logic I use to call upon divine spirits to bless our laboratory research. I soaked the tagine overnight, then rubbed in some olive oil, and baked it for an hour despite a strong suspicion that the glazing on the pot made this exercise unnecessary. I sent my husband to the store for some tagine spices. Prudently, he purchased every exotic mix he could find: Harissa, Za’atar, Ras-el-hanout. The aromas were all-too familiar though: cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon. “Mom, you’ve been had”, the 14 year old wisely concluded, “It’s Garam Masala”.
Clean up was a breeze! My husband dug into his plate, saying “Mmm…all it needs is some lamb”. He was assigned dish washing duty for making mischief.
Spring has sprung in Maryland!
Enjoyed your post…I stare at the tangines but have not bought one.
I do recommend them Karen! Although I worried that mine would crack, it turned out to be surprisingly fuss-free to use and I can’t wait to try it again. In fact, a friend suggested I cook tandoori-style Indian food in it.