Cuscus di pesce

Cuscus di pesce

Fish couscous

By
From
Spring in Sicily
Serves
6
Photographer
Simon Griffiths

In Sicily couscous is made by hand, mixing semolina flour with a little water and saffron. It is rolled between the fingers to form small grains, about half the size of peppercorns, which are left to dry on a big wooden board. It is a lengthy process, so for this dish I have broken with tradition and suggested using good-quality purchased couscous. Ask your fishmonger to clean and fillet the fish, and to keep all the heads and bones for you to use to make the stock.

Fish stock

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1.5kg assorted fish such as blue eye, ling, sea bass, red mullet or grouper, (use the heads and bones for the stock and reserve the fish fillets for the stew)
1 spanish onion, quartered
4 celery stalks, roughly cut
3 fresh bay leaves
2 teaspoons salt

Fish stew

Quantity Ingredient
assorted fish fillets, cut into 5 cm chunks, (see above)
60ml virgin olive oil
1 large spanish onion, finely chopped
heart from 1/2 bunch celery, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, sliced
3 fresh bay leaves
400g canned, crushed italian tomatoes
1 small red chilli, finely sliced
1 blue swimmer crab, (to add sweetness to the stew)
1 1/2 litres fish stock, (see above)
salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon saffron powder
500g couscous

Method

  1. To make the fish stock, put the fish heads and bones in a large pot and cover with cold water. Add the onion, celery, bay leaves and salt and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 30 minutes, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve.
  2. To make the stew, heat three-quarters of the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onion, celery and garlic and fry gently for a few minutes until they soften. Add the bay leaves, tomatoes and chilli and simmer gently for about 15 minutes. Add the fish fillets to the pan, together with the crab. Cook for a few minutes then ladle in the fish stock, reserving 600 ml for the couscous, and simmer for 10–15 minutes. Taste, then season to your liking with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat the reserved fish stock in a separate saucepan. Stir in the saffron powder then add the couscous. Add the remaining oil, stir well and leave to absorb (as per the packet instructions). Fluff the couscous up with a fork, adding a little more oil if need be. Tip the couscous out onto a warm serving plate and ladle on some of the fish stew. Serve the remaining fish stew on the side.
Tags:
Spring in Sicily
Manuela
Darling
Gansser
Sicilian
Sicily
Italy
Italian
Mediterranean
European
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