Okay.  I’ll be up-front with you right out of the box – it’s not the most gorgeous dish you’ll ever serve up.  White fish and off-white couscous set off by red tomatoes does not exactly create a rainbow palette on your plate. 

However, this recipe has three things going for it that make up for its lack of visual appeal:  1)  it’s wonderfully easy … 2)  it’s amazingly tasty … and 3)  it’s fantastically healthy.  And, as a bonus – because it’s a fish dish, it’s fast-fast-fast.  So, the fact that it won’t wind up on the cover of a magazine really shouldn’t matter.

Tilapia with Tomato Couscous

  • 1 cup couscous
  • Olive oil
  • 2 red onions, small dice
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 basket cherry tomatoes, halved
  • salt and pepper
  • zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • chopped fennel fronds or parsley for garnish

First thing first – in a medium bowl, toss the couscous with a drizzle of olive oil then pour over 2 cups boiling water and cover with plastic wrap to cook.  Meanwhile, in a large flat pan with a lid, heat 3-4 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat and cook the onions, chilli, fennel seeds and bay leaf until soft.  Add the canned and fresh tomatoes, stirring to mix well and season to taste and cook for 3-5 minutes.  When that’s done, distribute the tomato mixture evenly across the bottom of the pan then layer the cooked couscous on top.  Sprinkle with the zest of one of the lemons, then layer the fish evenly across the top of the couscous and sprinkle with the zest and juice of one of the lemons.  Cover and lower the heat slightly – the fish will steam and should be cooked completely within 5-10 minutes.

Serve with a sprinkling of fennel fronds or chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon.

This dish works well with pretty much any mild fish – I don’t think I’d go too much bolder on the flavor than salmon (for instance, I think mackerel may be a bit too boisterous). 

like I said - not exactly a beauty queen of a dish, but boy-howdy, does it taste good!

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