Topped with seafood and served with an intensely rich fish stock seasoned with cinnamon, bay leaves, and almonds, the Couscous alla Trapanese is one of Sicily’s most famous and tasty dishes - a celebration of the union between the Arab and Sicilian cultures and traditions. Today the special couscous is enjoyed by foodies all around the world.
Recipe by Kristy Mucci
- 17 ounces boxed couscous
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 10 garlic cloves, smashed (plus 2, unpeeled)
- 2 onions, chopped (plus 1, halved)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large stalks celery, chopped
- 1 small bunch parsley, left whole, with a small amount reserved and chopped for garnish
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1 pound fresh tomatoes, peeled
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 pound large head-on shrimp, heads and bodies separated
- 2 pounds mixed fish and shellfish, such as red snapper, sea bass, calamari, and mussels
- Red pepper flakes, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Lemon, for garnish, if desired
- Cook the couscous along with the bay leaves, cinnamon, 2 cloves of unpeeled garlic, and 1 halved onion, according to package instructions. Once cooked, remove the bay leaves, cinnamon, garlic, and onion, and set aside.
- While the couscous is steaming, make the fish stock: In a large pot, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onions and smashed garlic cloves, cook until soft, about 3 minutes.
- Add the sliced almonds and peeled tomatoes, cook until the tomato starts to soften, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add water, red pepper, salt, pepper, and the shrimp heads and bodies, and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the tomatoes completely break down, about an hour. Add the remaining fish and shellfish, and simmer until cooked through, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer the fish and shellfish to a separate dish. Strain the fish stock. Pour 3 tablespoons of fish stock over the couscous and let sit, covered, for one hour before serving.
- Serve the couscous topped with the cooked fish, garnished with chopped parsley and lemon, and with the strained fish stock on the side (for pouring over the entire dish, as desired).
- Material: Porcelain enamel, aluminum
- Dimensions: Diameter 16cm
- Dishwasher safe
- Not suitable for microwave