Sea-Bass Couscous

Food & Wine
Sweet potatoes, red bell pepper, and chickpeas blend with strips of sea bass in a highly seasoned tomato broth. This satisfying mélange is ladled over a mound of steaming couscous to make a complete meal in one dish.
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Ingredients

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2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 onion, cut into thin slices
1 red bell pepper, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 quart canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree
3/4 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups water
1 1/3 cups couscous
2 cups drained canned chickpeas, rinsed (from one 19-ounce can)
1 pound sea-bass fillets, skinned, cut into approximately 3/4-by-1 1/2-inch pieces

Preparation

1. In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, about 4 minutes. Stir in the paprika, coriander, cayenne, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Add the broth, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes. Simmer until the potatoes are almost tender, about 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring the water and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt to a boil. Stir in the couscous. Cover, remove from the heat, and let sit for 5 minutes.

3. Stir the chickpeas, fish, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt into the sweet-potato mixture. Simmer until the fish is just done, about 4 minutes. Serve the fish and vegetables over the couscous. Ladle the liquid over the top.

Fish Alternatives: Skinless red snapper, black cod, and tilefish fillets would all be good with this couscous.

Wine Recommendation: The earthy but exotic flavors here invite a cold bottle of rosé. Look for one from Provence in southern France, or, if you like a bit of sweetness, try a white zinfandel from California.

Created date

June 2004