This used to be the meal that we reserved for the most special of occasions. Not only is it absolutely delicious but it’s chock-full of seafood, making it feel extra-special. In fact, if you go to the about page on this website, you will see the last time (until today) that I got to enjoy this meal (look how happy I am!). You may be asking yourself: Sami, why haven’t you made this for a whole year if it is so utterly tasty? Haven’t there been occasions that need celebrating? Of course! The reason that it is no longer on our rotation at home is a result of… the incident.
The last time we cooked this at home, it was springtime in Vancouver and we went down to the pier at Granville Island and bought fresh prawns and swimmer scallops. If you’ve never had spot prawns before, they are a particularly sweet variety of shrimp that are available for about 6 weeks starting in May. We knew they were destined for this dish, as it is definitely the most delicious one we have in our repertoire. Unfortunately one of those swimmer scallops met its maker before it met our pot and my unlucky boyfriend got so, so, so sick. Needless to say, this dish will never grace our home’s kitchen table again. Lucky for me, I wasn’t at home this week.
This past week, I’ve been back at my original home, Montreal. My sister had never been to Jean Talon market before (for shame!) so we decided to go today and cook dinner for our family. I knew right away that we would make this bowl of seafood goodness. Luckily, I used to make it so much that I remembered the recipe off by heart.
It ended up just as good as I remembered: succulent seafood, acidic caper berries, some crunch and nuttiness from the pine nuts, and sweetness from the raisins. The Israeli couscous (which is completely different and cannot be replaced with regular couscous) gives the dish some extra body. The best thing is that once the seafood is cleaned and prepared, the dish comes together in about 20 minutes. There’s no excuse not to make this as soon as possible.
Adapted, barely, from Primo e Secondo
Israeli couscous is not the same as regular couscous. If you can't find it, it's best left out or replaced by a small pasta (i.e. orzo or orechiette).
If you prefer other types of seafood, clams are great in this. My shrimp were 20/25 per pound. If you are using larger shrimp (and are cooking for 4-6 people) you may want to consider getting more than 1 lb.
In a large pan with high sides, heat up olive oil over medium-high heat.
Saute raisins, pine nuts, caper berries, and 1/4 cup green onions until pine nuts start to turn golden brown.
Add chilli flakes, tomatoes and water. Season with salt and pepper.
Simmer mixture until tomatoes start to break down, about 5 minutes.
Add mussels to the pan and cook, covered, until they start to open (3-5 minutes). Add shrimp and simmer 3-4 minutes, until almost cooked. Add calamari and cooked couscous and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Garnish with remaining spring onions.
Serve with crusty, buttered bread.
A bowl of seafood goodness recipe was last modified: August 13, 2014 by