Thursday, June 28, 2012

COMPLETE MEAL: Dilled Sole with Almonds and Cranberry & Toasted Coconut Couscous

Last Sunday's dinner was one of my better successes in creating an entire meal, by myself.  That may seem like a strange thing to say, but what usually ends up happening is that I choose a challenging entrée to which I must devote all my time and attention. When my husband gets home from work, then, the first thing out of my mouth is usually, "Can you make the salad?"  Just what everyone wants to hear when they get home from work, I know. (I'm hoping he remembers that time I did have a martini waiting for him when he walked in the door...that's got to be worth something, right? It happened once.) Now, the Lord of Shallots does not go to work on Sunday, but I really wanted to cook something new, but something easy that would allow me to concentrate on the entire meal.

Enter sole.  Sole, like tilapia and other thinner fishes, is a great fish to cook when you don't have a lot of time. I had picked up some grey sole at the Farmers Market, and found this recipe to which I made only two adjustments:
  • I toasted the almonds beforehand (in a very hot skillet with a tiny bit of olive oil, and I added paprika)
  • I used breadcrumbs instead of cornmeal (just what I had on hand).
So, what to have as a side?  Rice takes too long, so couscous was the ticket. But normal boring couscous felt like a cop out, so...

Cranberry and Toasted Coconut Couscous (or, Couscous with Cranberries and Toasted Coconut)

1 cup couscous
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons olive oil (separated into 1 tablespoon portions)
2 tablespoons coconut flakes (toast your own--don't buy pre-toasted)*
1/4 cup dried cranberries
freshly ground pepper

  • In a thin metal skillet, toast the coconut flakes in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, shaking the pan frequently and stirring the coconut until golden brown. Set aside on a plate or in a bowl to cool.
  • Prepare the couscous according to package directions, using chicken broth instead of water, and adding the remaining tablespoon of oil to the broth (let the broth and oil boil, add couscous, cover and remove from heat).
  • When liquid is absorbed (5-7 minutes), add cranberries, toasted coconut and pepper.
* If you toast your own coconut, not only will it make your home smell heavenly, the coconut has a much better texture and flavor. It takes all of two to three minutes, and you can't be a lazier cook than I am, so just try it.

I finished with mixed greens & scallions in a light white-wine vinaigrette.
A wonderful and EASY summer meal!