Rockfish with Apricot Almond Couscous. Living near the water-surrounded Delmarva Peninsula area, we have access to some wonderful Maryland rockfish. Also known as striped bass, the fresh local rockfish is very tasty and popular around here. One of my favorite ways to prepare rockfish is to slowly roast it in the oven and serve with a salad of apricot almond couscous. The couscous salad can be warm or cold. It’s delicious either way.
You can prepare the couscous salad a day ahead and serve it cold, or you can prepare it while the rockfish is roasting and serve it warm. The couscous salad ingredients include cooked couscous, canned chickpeas, chopped dried apricots, toasted slivered almonds, sliced scallion, raisins and chopped cilantro with a lemon juice, olive oil, and cardamom dressing.
Just cook the couscous according to the package directions. Add the chickpeas and dried apricots and warm through. Stir in the almonds, scallion, raisins, and cilantro. Whisk together the lemon juice, honey, olive oil, and powdered cardamom and add to the couscous mixture. At this point, you can keep the couscous warm to serve with the fish, or you can chill it for a few hours or overnight and serve it cold with the warm roasted fish the next day.
Prepare two rockfish fillets by seasoning the flesh with salt and pepper. Then roast it in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit on a parchment-lined baking pan for 10 – 15 minutes or until it is done to your liking. You can also sear the rockfish in a pan over medium heat with some butter, flesh side down first for 2 – 3 minutes and then flip over.
Serve the rockfish with the warm or chilled couscous salad. Garnish with lemon slices and a few lemon wedges for squeezing.
From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….
Rockfish with Apricot Almond Couscous
2 fresh rockfish fillets, skin on, scales removed
2 c cooked couscous (follow package directions)
1 c canned or cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1/4 c chopped dried apricots
2 T toasted slivered almonds (Trader Joe’s sells toasted slivered almonds)
1 whole scallion, thinly sliced
1/4 c raisins or currants
2 T chopped fresh cilantro (or parsley)
3 T lemon juice
1 T honey
1/4 c olive oil
2 t powdered cardamom
Salt and pepper, to taste
Lemon slices and wedges, for garnish
1. Season the rockfish fillets with salt and pepper and set aside.
2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. In a pan, over low heat, mix together the cooked couscous with the chickpeas, dried apricots, almonds, scallion, raisins, and cilantro and heat through.
4. In a small non-metallic bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, honey, olive oil, and cardamom.
5. Stir the cardamom dressing into the couscous mixture and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm or chill at this point.
6. Roast the rockfish for 10 – 15 minutes or until it is cooked to your liking.
7. Plate each rockfish fillet with the couscous salad, garnish with lemon slices and a lemon wedge each for squeezing, and serve!
Serves 2 diners as a main course. Offer with my Simple Cucumber Salad as a starter and my Garlicky White Bean Dip as a spread for some pita bread.
Variations: Use your favorite fish instead of the rockfish. Salmon, halibut, and swordfish are all tasty with this couscous salad. Sear the fish in a pan with butter rather than roasting it. Omit the nuts if you have a nut allergy. Substitute cannellini beans for the chickpeas. Serve the couscous salad with chicken or pork or by itself.
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