Fish & shellfish couscous

Fish & shellfish couscous

By
From
Sicily
Serves
6–8

In Italy, they often use small or damaged fish, or the bones of particular kinds like scorpion fish, John Dory or gurnards, as these all have a good strong flavour to impart to a stock. These types of fish aren’t always easy to find, so I add the heads and shells of prawns (shrimp) instead. You can use a bought fish stock for this which is a lot easier but doesn’t have the flavour of a homemade one. If you do buy one, bump up the flavour by adding the cinnamon, chilli, wine and tomato purée from the recipe below.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

For the fish broth

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1kg see method for ingredients, mixed fish heads and bones and prawn heads and shells
3 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
1 bay leaf
1 small cinnamon stick
1/2-1 red chilli, finely sliced
4 tablespoons white wine
3 tablespoons tomato purée
2 litres tepid water

For the couscous

Quantity Ingredient
1 small garlic clove, peeled and finely grated
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
25g toasted chopped or flaked almonds
1/2 orange, finely grated zest
1/2 lemon, finely grated zest
pinch ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
300g wheat or maize couscous
large handful parsley, chopped
large handful mint leaves, chopped

Fish for the filtered broth

Quantity Ingredient
1.5kg cleaned and scaled mixed fish such as sea bream, sea bass, king prawns
1-2 teaspoons salt

Method

  1. First make the fish broth. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion, celery and carrot for 10 minutes or until softened. Add the fish heads and bones, prawn heads and shells, garlic, bay leaf, cinnamon and chilli according to taste and stir through. Add the wine and allow to reduce for a few minutes then stir in the tomato purée and water and cook for around 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, put the ingredients for the couscous, apart from the herbs, into a heatproof bowl and stir together.
  3. Cut the fish into 5–8 cm pieces.
  4. Strain the broth through a fine sieve and pour into a saucepan. Season to taste with the salt and a little more chilli, if you like. Prepare the couscous by pouring over the hot broth following the amounts given for hot water on the packet. You should still have some broth leftover. Stir into the couscous and allow it to sit for 5 minutes, then fluff it up with a fork and add the fresh herbs.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the fish pieces with the king prawns in the remaining hot broth until cooked through – this will take only 7–10 minutes, depending on the size of your fish and prawns. Serve the couscous on a warm serving platter accompanied by the fish broth and fish in a bowl with a ladle for guests to help themselves.
Tags:
Italy
Italian
Sicily
Sicilian
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