Israeli Couscous with Roasted Lemons & Capers topped with Seared Scallops & a Lemon Creme Fraiche Drizzle

By melissav
January 7, 2010
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Author Notes: Israeli Couscous has always been my go to dish when I want a quick delicious dinner. This is one of my favorite variations. The couscous is flavored with a roasted lemon and both capers and caper berries. The roasted lemon was inspired by a Lydia Bastianich chicken recipe I saw in Food & Wine a few years ago. To make it a full meal, I top the couscous with seared scallops but it is delicious with any seafood or chicken. It is also great as a base for my Pan Roasted Branzino with Avgolemono Sauce (see my recipes). - melissavmelissav

Food52 Review: Many scallop recipes aim to underline their rich sweetness. Not here. Instead, melissav emphasizes scallops' briney flavors by pairing them with a couscous scented with roasted lemons, capers and caper berries, and a sauce that's bright with both lemon zest and juice. The dish is wonderful, admirably stern with its lashings of acidity and yet generous with the warm flavors of toasted couscous and creme fraiche. Serve this for a dinner party. - A&MThe Editors

Serves: 2


  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1.25 cups israeli couscous
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 5 caper berries, halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  1. Preheat the over to 350 degrees.
  2. Slice the lemon very thinly. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Roast the lemons until lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Watch carefully at the end as you don't want the lemons to burn.
  4. Remove from the oven, let cool, and chop. I find it is easiest to do this using scissors - just snip in small pieces. Set aside.
  5. Saute the onion in a saucepan over medium high heat until lightly golden. Season lightly with salt and pepper
  6. Add couscous and saute until golden, about 4 minutes.
  7. Add 2 cups chicken broth, the lemon pieces, and capers. Bring to a simmer and cover, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes. About two minutes before it is done, add the caper berries.
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in parsley.

Scallops and Lemon Creme Fraiche Drizzle

  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 2 tablespoons chicken broth
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice (about 2-3TB)
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 scallops (preferably dry scallops, not in any preservatives)
  1. saute the shallots in a bit of olive oil over medium heat until translucent.
  2. Add the wine and cook until almost evaporated.
  3. Add the broth and reduce for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the lemon juice and zest and the creme fraiche.
  5. Simmer for 2-3 minutes and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Sear the scallops over high heat in a bit of olive oil until golden, about 1.5 minutes per side.
  7. Put a scoop of couscous in a shallow bowl. Top with the scallops and drizzle with the sauce.

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