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
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