Fish Couscous with Onion T'faya

Fish Couscous with Onion T'faya

T'fayas, special-occasion dishes served all along Morocco's Atlantic coast, are known for their thick, sweet and heavily spiced sauces. This one gets a pleasant layer of sweetness from raisins and a touch of sugar, which marries perfectly with halibut.

From EatingWell: September/October 2008
Yield: 8 servings
Active Time: 60
Total Time: 60

Ingredients

  1. 1/2 cup raisins
  2. 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  3. 2 tablespoons butter
  4. 8 saffron threads, (see Ingredient Note)
  5. 2 teaspoons salt
  6. 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  7. 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  8. 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  9. 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  10. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  11. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  12. 3 large onions, (2-2 1/2 pounds), very thinly sliced
  13. 1 tablespoon sugar
  14. 2 1/3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, fish broth or vegetable broth, divided
  15. 2 1/2 pounds Pacific halibut, or other firm white fish, skinned and cut into 2-inch wide pieces
  16. Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  17. 1 tablespoon canola oil
  18. 1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds
  19. 1 cup whole-wheat couscous

Preparation

  1. Place raisins in a small bowl and cover with warm water; let soak for 10 minutes. Drain.
  2. Crush saffron and salt together in a mortar and pestle until a coarse powder forms. (Alternatively, place saffron and salt on a cutting board and use the flat side of a chef’s knife to grind into a coarse powder.) Combine with ginger, turmeric, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the spice mixture and cook, stirring, until the mixture starts to foam. Add onions, sugar and the plumped raisins. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn light brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Add 1 cup broth and nestle fish into the onion mixture. Cover and cook until the fish is flaky, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with pepper. Cover and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, heat canola oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add almonds and cook, stirring, until just beginning to turn golden, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towels.
  5. Bring the remaining 1 1/3 cups broth and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to a boil in a small saucepan. Add couscous in a stream. Stir once. Cover, remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  6. To serve, mound the couscous on a shallow platter. Top with the fish and onion t’faya and sprinkle the almonds on top.

Tips & Notes

  • Ingredient note: The dried stigma from Crocus sativus, saffron adds flavor and golden color to a variety of Middle Eastern, African and European foods. Find it in the spice section of supermarkets, gourmet shops and at tienda.com. It will keep in an airtight container for several years.

Nutrition

Nutrition Per Serving: 464 calories; 18 g fat (4 g sat, 9 g mono); 54 mg cholesterol; 39 g carbohydrates; 37 g protein; 6 g fiber; 702 mg sodium; 839 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Magnesium (36% daily value), Potassium (24% dv).

2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1/2 fruit, 4 lean meat, 2 fat