This is a recipe I entered in the weekly recipe contest at Food52.com. Since I didn't win that week (but I was an editor's pick, which makes me unspeakable proud), it seems like a perfectly good idea to share it here at Cook the Wolf. The contest was for Your Best Couscous. (If you're not familiar with Food52.com, you should check it out; it's more fun than a barrel of Marcona almonds. Way more.) I got the idea to share it when I read the terrific Food52 blog Jenny's in the Kitchen, which, you'll note if you log on, features an equally fabulous salmon recipe that uses one of the same (perhaps surprising) ingredients that mine does (cinnamon) and would be wonderful and even quicker. Anyway, here's what I entered:
One of my favorite easy dishes is fish baked in foil. And I love tagines on couscous, the tiny pasta sopped with big flavored stewy juices.This is not a tagine, technically speaking. But it has some of the flavors and textures that make the classic Moroccan dish so alluring to me. And it only takes about 15 minutes to prepare, and 20 to cook. I don't really measure when I make fish in foil, but this is a close estimation; it's an easy dish to tinker with and you should feel free to do so. But try it this way first.
Splendid and Simple Salmon and Vegetable Couscous
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 4 pieces salmon filet, 6-8 oz each, skin removed
- 1 medium zucchini, very thinly sliced
- 1 small red bell pepper, in very small dice
- 1 small to medium red onion, very thinly sliced
- 1 large tomato, seeded and diced
- 1 small bunch parsley, roughly chopped
- 12 large basil leaves, chiffonade
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 pinches red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (more to taste)
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 lemon (cut into quarters)
- 1 cup dry white wine, divided
- 1 cup cream, divided
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/2 cup couscous
- Place a large oven-proof casserole or baking dish in oven and preheat to 450.
- Cut four sheets of tinfoil, about 18 inches long. Stack them; one by one, in the center of each, layer a quarter of the ingredients: a bit of olive oil, a bed of zucchini (about the size of fish filet), the fish, bell pepper, tomato, onion, parsley, basil. Sprinkle each with 1/4 of the cumin, the garlic, the pepper flakes, cinnamon, coriander. Squeeze the juice of a lemon wedge on each piece. Top with a tablespoon of butter.
- Fold the foil into a little boat shape to hold in liquid. Then splash each filet with a quarter of the wine and a quarter of the cream. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Fold the foil packet like an envelope and seal the edges along sides and top so that no steam or liquid could possibly escape. Remove the hot baking dish from the oven. Place packets of fish in the dish and bake for 20 minutes. They should begin to make a sizzling noise after ten minutes--cook for 10 more minutes after they do. Do not check for doneness until 20 minutes has elapsed.
- Make the couscous once the fish has baked for 15 minutes. Boil 1 1/2 cups water, to which you have added 2 teaspoons of butter. Add the couscous, quickly stir, then cover with lid for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.
- Divide the couscous among 4 bowls; open the foil packets from the top, being careful not to burn yourself. Tip the packets over each bowl so that the broth runs out; use a spatula or spoon to place the fish and vegetables over each portion. Serve with more fresh parsley if you wish.