Saffron-scented Vegetable Couscous with North African-spiced Halibut

 

This dish has a lovely combination of flavors -- saffron couscous is combined with cauliflower and fennel; bright herbs and olives; warmly-spiced fish; and a splash of tart lemon juice. The fish marinade riffs on couscous' North African origins, using some of the ingredients often found in the Ras Al Hanout spice blend, along with garlic and lemon in an oil-based paste. The savory-sweet combination compliments the slightly fusty edge in the couscous from the saffron and fennel. Don't be put off by the long list of ingredients -- it'll just take a few minutes to rifle through your spice cabinet. There are admittedly a few steps, but the result transforms some common ingredients into an exciting dish.

What you will need

1/3 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, presed or minced

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1 pound halibut

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 bulb fennel, trimmed and cut into bite-sized wedges

1/2 small cauliflower, cored and broken into bite-sized florets

2 cups Israeli couscous (also called pearl couscous)

1 pinch saffron

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup green olives, quartered

1 handful parsley, roughly chopped

1 handful cilantro, roughly chopped

1 lemon, cut in wedges

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