Recipe n. 13

There is a small town in Sicily called  San Vito Lo Capo where every year they have a Couscous festival, ‘la sagra del couscous’. Chefs come from countries around the Mediterranean to participate and show original ways of cooking couscous with fish, according to their own traditions. I personally love couscous and I could eat it every day for lunch and dinner without ever getting bored. It’s so versatile and it can go well with meat, fish or vegetables. In San Vito Lo Capo fish is mandatory and if you want to follow the typical Sanvitese way of making this dish it would require a very long time and an elaborate preparation. This involves making couscous with durum wheat, semola, using an ancient technique, called ‘incocciata’ in Sicilian dialect. Couscous is then steamed in a pot made of terracotta, a couscoussière. This is my own semplified version of couscous with fish which probably wouldn’t go very far in the cooking contest in San Vito as I‘m breaking the rules using precooked couscous and using other types of fish, but if you don’t want to spend half your day preparing this dish then this is the way to go and it tastes good too!

The next time I make this dish I promise we’ll go through all the different stages in the traditional way of making it.


  • 1 lb  couscous
  • 1 lb of fresh fish mixture *( I use cod or lemon sole, red snapper and salmon)
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 carrot (optional)
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ onion
  • 1 cup sweet cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Lemon (zest and juice)
  • Fresh Italian flat parsley
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Let’s start with the broth: in a medium stock pot, add the water, carrots, celery, parsley, tomatoes, onion and bay leaf. Bring to  boil and add a small piece of each fish just to let the broth infuse with the flavor of the fish. Reduce to simmer and cook for about 10 minutes. In the meantime in a large skillet add the olive oil and garlic.  Be careful not to burn the garlic. After a minute or so gently place the fish and season with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, almonds, capers, lemon zest and juice and a few segments if you like too. Add 1 ½ cup of broth, cover and cook  on medium heat for  about 15 minutes. Place the couscous n a large dish or bowl and add a 1 /2 cup of olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and place first the fish on top followed by the juice where the fish was cooking and add another cup of broth.  Sprinkle with fresh parsley and cover tight letting the couscous rest for at least 5 minutes. Using a fork be sure to separate the couscous grains from each other to avoid clumps. Add more broth if necessary or if it looks to dry.

*NOTE:  You are supposed to use fish suitable for making broth, but I like to use any sort of  fish. I like to buy wild fish in general. I don’t trust farmed or even organic farmed fish. To me fish always tastes better if it’s caught wild.

3 thoughts on “COUSCOUS FEAST…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s