Halibut with Zahtar and Mint Couscous

Notes: Zahtar is a Middle Eastern seasoning made with sumac, a dried sour berry. Dried tart cherries have a similar tang.


Makes 4 servings

Recipe from


Nutritional Information

Calories 549
Caloriesfromfat 25 %
Protein 45 g
Fat 15 g
Satfat 2 g
Carbohydrate 58 g
Fiber 2.4 g
Sodium 135 mg
Cholesterol 54 mg


3/4 cup dried sour cherries
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup couscous
1 1/2 cups fat-skimmed chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds boned, skinned halibut (1 in. thick)
1 cup finely chopped English cucumber
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves


1. In a blender or food processor, combine dried cherries, oregano, cumin, paprika, oil, and lemon juice. Whirl until pureed, scraping container sides as necessary. Add salt to taste.

2. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan, combine couscous and broth. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover, remove pan from heat, and let stand until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Keep warm.

3. Meanwhile, rinse halibut, pat dry, and coat with cherry mixture. Set each piece of halibut on a slightly larger piece of foil. Cut foil to fit fish.

4. Set foil with fish on a barbecue grill over a solid bed of hot coals or high heat on a gas grill (you can hold your hand at grill level only 2 to 3 seconds). Cover barbecue with lid (open vents for charcoal), and cook until fish is opaque but moist-looking in thickest part (cut to test), 8 to 10 minutes.

5. Stir chopped cucumber and chopped mint into couscous; spoon onto plates. Cut grilled halibut into equal portions and set onto couscous. Season to taste with salt.

August 1999
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