I apologize to all Sardinians, as I'm sure this barely warrants the name. But reading up about this cuisine, I was inspired to create a one-pot fish and pasta dish, using the more readily-available Israeli couscous in place of Sardinian fregola. I loved the idea of making a comforting, soppy dish combining pasta and fish with tomato, but also adding saffron and fresh mint, to add an interesting spin. I also added a handful of green olives for a briney note, and some white wine (because I seem to be unable to make such a dish without it). The result may be something of an inauthentic hybrid, but it's truly delicious. - deensiebat —deensiebat
Test Kitchen Notes
I made this for a family dinner and it was a success, everyone loved it. I used red snapper for my fish. I love one pot meals anytime and this one is one to add to the repertoire. My couscous seemed to soak up more of the cooking liquid than the original recipe and the bottom was a bit charred but for me, it was reminiscent of true Catalan paellas that are crispy on the bottom. My grocery didn't have any herbs (that did not look dead) besides basil so that was what I used. We added our own olives individually to our bowls. You will need to taste for salt and pepper but this was a winner. Shrimp or mussels steamed on top of the couscous would be another great idea. —The Editors
large shallots, finely chopped
stalks celery, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups
fresh parsley, finely chopped
fresh mint, finely chopped
green olives (you can use olives with pits, as long as you warn your guests, and can increase or decrease the amount to your taste)
white fish fillets (I suppose something like mullet or swordfish would be traditional, but I used cod and it worked well)
lemon wedges, for serving
harissa or other hot sauce, if desired
In This Recipe
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over a medium-high flame. Add the shallots and celery, along with a pinch of salt, and saute, stirring, until softened.
When the aromatics are soft, add the couscous, and stir to coat with oil (most couscous comes pre-toasted, so you don't need to worry about that). Add the white wine, let cook off for a moment, and then add the tomatoes, broth, saffron, and half each of the parsley and mint (set aside the remaining half to finish the dish). Add the olives, and stir to combine. Cover the pot, bring it up to a boil, and then lower the heat until it's just barely high enough to maintain a simmer. Cook until the couscous is just shy of being done, ~10 minutes.
When the couscous is still al dente, give it a stir, and place the fish fillets on top of it, season with salt, and replace the lid and continue to cook for a few more minutes, until the fish flakes and the couscous has finished cooking (the exact time will vary, depending upon your fish -- I sometimes turn off the heat and let it continue to cook in the residual steam when it's just shy of done). Taste and adjust salt if needed (between the broth and the olives you should be okay), and sprinkle with the reserved mint and parsley. Serve with lemon wedges and harissa if desired.