Sicilian Inspired Fish Couscous

Sicilian Inspired Fish Couscous
Fishboxer Claire Wallace-Watson from Newcatle


Large pinch of saffron
120 ml hot water
200g medium couscous
4tbsp olive oil
2tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 small onion
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
1 tomato, peeled, deseeded and cut into 8-12 slices (top to bottom)
600g mixed fish fillets (cut into large pieces) or fish pie mix
1/8tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
salt and black pepper


This dish is inspired by a traditional recipe from the area of Trapani in Sicily, Italy, where it is a local speciality. The beaches around the town are famous for producing sea salt.
This recipe is great for using up odd fillets of fish or as a great alternative use for fish pie mix.
The longer method of cooking couscous is unusual in this country but is worth the extra time and the little extra effort required.

1. In a small bowl, soak the saffron in the hot water for 10 minutes.
2. Add the couscous to a medium sized bowl and strain the saffron water over the couscod then give a good stir with a fork. Tip the couscous out on to a baking tray and spread out to dry, whilst preparing the rest of the ingredients.
3. Add the chopped onion and garlic and fry gently for 5 minutes until softened, but not coloured, in 2bsp of olive oil.
4. Add the sliced tomatoes and fry for a couple of minutes more.
5. Add the fillets or pieces of fish, season with salt and pepper and pour over enough cold water to cover. Simmer over a low heat until nearly cooked. Remove the fish with a slotted spoon and allow to cool and then remove any skin and bones.
6. Strain the cooking liquid into your largest saucepan and top up with boiling water until it is 5cm deep.
7. Tip the couscous into a colander and place the colander over the pan, the rim of the colander should sit on the rim of the pan. The colander should not touch the liquid in the bottom of the pan. Wrap a tea towel around the top of the pan between the pan and the colander. Now place the pan lid on top and weigh down with a heavy cloth. Leave the couscous to steam over the gently simmering liquid for 40 minutes.
8. When the couscous is ready remove from the heat and return the fish back to the stock in the bottom of the pan to heat through again. This is the point that I added the prawns.
9. Take a large serving dish and add half of the couscous, add the fish, 2 tbsp olive oil, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste and then add the remaining couscous and the chopped parsley. Toss together gently and serve immediately.