Recipe Couscous Con Pesce


1 lb. semolina (1/2 finely ground, 1/2 coarsely ground)
2 qts. poaching liquid (see recipe)
3 lbs. grouper or red snapper fillets, each 3/4 oz.
1 pinch of saffron
4 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tbs. parsley, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch cinnamon

How to make Couscous con Pesce:

Mix semolina in a mixing bowl with 1 pt. of water and the saffron diluted with 1/2 cup lukewarm water. Work the semolina until it becomes dry and granulated (add more water if too dry, or more semolina if too wet). Let the small kernels dry on a towel.

Warm the oil in a saucepan and brown the garlic. Add the parsley, and onion. When tender but not brown, add 2 qts. poaching liquid, and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and add the fish. Cook until the fish is tender, but still crisp. Remove fish from broth, set aside and keep warm.

Strain the fish broth, bring to a boil, place the semolina into a fine strainer and place suspended over the boiling broth. Take care not to let steam come out from the sides. This can be done by placing aluminum foil between the strainer and the sides of the pot. It will take at least 1 1/2 hours for the semolina to cook.

Place cooked semolina in a large platter and add as much poaching liquid as it can be absorbed to get fairly moist and loose. Add a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Top with the fish, which should be warm, and place on top of the couscous. Serve the couscous con pesce.

This couscous con pesce dish, of Arabic origin, is very common in the West coast of Sicily between Trapani and Marsala. It is prepared with fish instead of vegetables and mutton as in Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. Couscous is made by working semolina and water by hand on the walls of a wide terracotta-enameled tub, and cooked in a special, pierced terracotta pot placed to steam over the first pot.