If memory serves, this one came straight off the GOOP, back in the day when Gwyneth Paltrow was actually publishing interesting content, before her business managers convinced her of the money behind marketing her name. I actually like Gwyneth Paltrow, or more precisely, I think she gets a bad wrap. Yeah, she’s kind of clueless about the lives of us ordinary folk, but she doesn’t have an ordinary life. She means well, and because of who she is and what she has, she started GOOP as a weekly newsletter in which she would publish snapshots of her fabulous life and contributions from her fabulous friends: the stuff that ordinary people would not otherwise get to see. The spin doctors can go either way on that description, but I subscribed and enjoyed receiving my email every Thursday.
She should probably be more cautious about some of the advice she doles out. These days GOOP is more like Williams Sonoma than a friendly blog, I cannot attest to the quality of the content as I long ago unsubscribed when it became clear that I was never going to buy any of her high-priced wardrobe essentials and did not particularly care to look at all the pictures of GP modelling the clothing herself. I digress.
This recipe quickly became one of my staple go-to because it is really easy and I usually had most of the ingredients at home or easy access at my local grocery store. After a while, I kind of stopped following these directions and pretty much started dumping all the ingredients in whenever, and I thought it still came out good. Unless entertaining, I rarely served it with the accompanying couscous because of, well, the carbs.
- 1 cup quick-cook couscous
- olive oil
- 2 lemons
- sea salt and freshly ground
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 fresh red chili
- a bunch of fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2x 6-ounce white fish fillets, skin off and bones removed
- 3/4 pound large shrimp, raw, peeled
- 1x 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes
- 2 handfuls of fresh or frozen peas, fava beans, or green beans (or use a mixture)
Prepare the couscous. Put the couscous into a bowl and add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Halve the lemons and squeeze in the juice from two of the halves. Add a pinch of salt andpepper. Pour in just enough boiling water to cover the couscous, then cover the bowl with a plate or plastic wrap. Let the couscous soak up the water for 10 minutes.
Prepare the stew. Get a large saucepan on a medium heat. Peel and finely slice your garlic. Finely slice your chili. Pick the basil leaves off the stalks. Put the smaller ones to one side and roughly chop the larger ones. Add a couple of lugs of olive oil to the hot pan. Add the garlic, chili, basil, cumin seeds, and cinnamon. Give it all a stir and put the fish fillets on top. Scatter over the shrimp. Add the canned tomatoes and the peas and beans. Squeeze in the juice from the two remaining lemon halves. Put a lid on the pan. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for about 8 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.
Serve. By the time the fish is cooked, the couscous should have sucked up all the water and be ready to serve. Spoon the couscous into a large serving bowl and give it a stir with a fork to help it fluff up. Top with the fish, vegetables, and juices from the pan, sprinkle with the reserved basil leaves, and tuck in!