Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sicilian fish stew and couscous

Ingredients (serves 8)
* 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
* 1 large onion, finely chopped
* 2 inner stalks celery, finely chopped, leaves included
* 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
* 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
* 2 bay leaves
* 1/2 tsp firmly packed saffron threads, soaked in 1/4 cup boiling water for 10 minutes
* 700ml passata
* 2 (400g each) blue swimmer crabs, halved, cleaned
* 4 (125g each) snapper fillets, skin on
* 4 (50g each) King George whiting fillets, skin on
* 600g clams (vongole), rinsed
* 18 (625g) large green king prawns, peeled, deveined, leaving tails intact
Sicilian couscous
* 500g pkt couscous
* 2 tbs olive oil
* 6 dried bay leaves
* 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
* 50g slivered almonds, roasted, chopped

1. For Sicilian couscous, place couscous in a large bowl, scatter with 1/2 cup water, then, using your hands, mix until evenly damp. Add oil and 1 tsp salt and stir until well combined. Place a large fine metal sieve over a saucepan of simmering water, ensuring water is 3cm below the base of sieve. Line base with bay leaves, then top with couscous. Cover pan tightly with foil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring couscous halfway through cooking.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large casserole dish over medium heat, add onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add celery, garlic, cayenne and bay leaves and cook for 2 minutes. Add saffron and soaking liquid, passata and 1 litre water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Add crab and snapper (skin-side down). Reduce heat to low-medium and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Add whiting (skin-side down), clams and prawns, pressing gently into liquid, and cook, covered, for 5-8 minutes or until clams have opened and seafood is just cooked through.
3. Transfer couscous to a large bowl. Stir in 1 1/2 cups seafood cooking liquid, parsley and almonds. Serve with fish stew.

Notes & tips
* Passata is sieved tomato puree sold in bottles and available from supermarkets.
* Remove and discard top shell from crabs and remove and discard gills. Rinse coral from crab meat, then cut crabs in half.

Notebook: - Page 135
Recipe by Sophia Young


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