Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Toasted Israeli Couscous Salad and Sea Bass with Mushrooms and Garlic

When I picked up the latest issue of Fine Cooking this week, I was totally seduced by all the new recipes for crunchy fresh salads and veggie dishes in anticipation of the upcoming spring bounty. So inspired, in fact, that I decided that May would be officially Salad Month for us and that each day will include a new salad to pull us out of our rut of simply tossing together some greens and vinaigrette as an after-thought to any meal. Of course, whenever we actually do make a conscious effort to make a different and original salad, it's almost always well received and inevitably also becomes a popular leftover for lunches the next day, but sometimes you just need an incentive or a kick to plan ahead and make the added effort.

So, even though it's still technically April, we kicked off our salad challenge early with this nutty toasted couscous dish and everyone loved it. Lightly toasting the grains before boiling them added depth of flavour because sometimes couscous can be a bit tasteless, especially if I inadvertently overboil it, and the cucumber and feta added freshness and saltiness.


Another issue of Fine Cooking offered up some quick fish dishes so I sauteed some mushrooms, garlic and white wine, then threw a couple of sea bass fillets in the same pan and within minutes had an easy and light meal for Q and me. The kiddies weren't as keen on the fish since they were pretty convinced I was trying to kill them since they'd seen the fish had been marked down in price that day and no amount of persuasion could make them realize that it wasn't actually past its best-before date quite yet. They all chose the safer route of reheating some of the pesto chicken from a few days ago and eating that with the couscous instead.

Toasted Israeli Couscous Salad with Mint, Cucumber and Feta


adapted from Fine Cooking

serves 4 to 6



1 cup Israeli couscous

1 medium English cucumber, finely diced

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint leaves

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp finely grated lemon zest

1 cup small-diced feta cheese



In a large saucepan, bring well-salted water to a boil. Cook the couscous in the boiling water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water until cool. Place in a large bowl and stir in the cucumber and mint.



Meanwhile, in a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the couscous, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 10 minutes



In a small bowl, mix the oil, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper. Stir in the feta. Add the feta mixture to the couscous and season to taste.



Sea Bass with Mushrooms and Garlic

adapted from Fine Cooking

serves 4




2 tbsp butter

10 oz mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced

2 tbsp minced garlic

1/2 cup white wine

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

6 to 8 sea bass fillets



Heat butter over medium-high heat, add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook, about 45 seconds. Add white wine, parsley, vinegar, salt and pepper and boil until the liquid is reduced by half, about 2 minutes.



Remove the pan from the heat and add the fish fillets to the pan, nestling among the mushroom mixture. Bring to a gentle simmer, reduce heat to low and simmer until just cooked through (3 to 5 minutes).



Rest of the week



April 22 Pizza night



April 23 Easter dinner with family



April 24 Went out for Greek food



April 25 Sea bass with couscous salad




















3 comments:

The Mistress of Spices said...

This sounds like a simple and delicious salad. I love Israeli couscous!

Lizzy said...

I love the idea of salad month...and you've started off with a fabulous one. I adore Israeli couscous...mmmmm.

Kelly said...

Mmmm love this so much, can't wait to try it myself :) Always a pleasure following your blog!
http://cookskinny.blogspot.com/

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