Monday, January 19, 2009

Couscous... So nice, they named it twice!

Adam tells me this line is from Pineapple Express. When he said it to me today, I cracked up.

Mary gave me her copy of The Best 30-Minute Recipe from the editors of Cooks Illustrated (2006). I was reading it the other day and marked a few dishes. Tonight I decided to make the Salmon and Couscous Skillet Supper.

4 salmon fillets, 1 1/4 inches thick (we try to buy fillets with skin on so Chester can eat the skin - one of his favorite treats!)
Salt and ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
3 cups water
1/4 cup minced chives
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup frozen peas (I used a full cup)

1. Preheat Oven: Adjust oven rack to middle position, place oven dish on oven rack, and heat oven to 200 degrees (I set it closer to 250).

2. Brown fish on one side: Pat fish dry, with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Gently place fish on skillet (flesh side down if fillets are skin-on) and brown well on first side, about 5 minutes.

3. Transfer fish to oven: Gently transfer fish (skin-side down if fillets are skin-on) to baking dish in oven and continue to cook until fish has turned from translucent to opaque, about 15 minutes.

4. Saute couscous and aromatics: While fish bakes, wipe out skillet with paper towels, add 1 more tablespoon of oil to skillet, and return to medium-high heat. Add couscous and toast until light golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in garlic, shallots and lemon zest and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

5. Simmer couscous: Stir in water and cook over high heat until liquid is absorbed and couscous is tender, about 12 minutes (took mine over 20 minutes).

6. Make drizzling oil: Meanwhile, whisk together remaining 2 tablespoons oil along with 2 tablespoons of chives and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice; set aside.

7. Finish couscous: Off heat, sprinkle peas over couscous, cover, and let warm through, about 2 minutes. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons chives and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle chive oil over salmon and couscous before serving.
I must say, this meal was pretty perfect as is. It requires a lot of salt and pepper once on the plate - the couscous was bland. I like the Israeli couscous because it's larger and more substantial.

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