I didn’t grow up eating much fish, so this recipe for salmon with couscous was the only fish recipe I made for several years. It was salmon, baked under a layer of couscous flavored with olive oil, lemon juice, olives, capers, and raisins.
I came across this recipe in graduate school, back in the days where I (and many others) still printed out recipes to try. One of my primary sources back then, and source for this recipe, was Food Network, although I didn’t watch the show this recipe aired on. Salmon with a Couscous Crust purportedly served two, but easily served three or four. It was easy to make as written, and delicious. I loved, and still love, how quickly it comes together. Simply mix together couscous with seasonings, pour on top of salmon, and bake.
Of course, I made changes. The recipe took more olive oil than needed in a weeknight dinner, so I cut it back. I omit raisins since I don’t care for them. I inexplicably like capers but not olives, so I use extra capers as a substitute. I’ve substituted almonds for pine nuts, and forgotten them altogether before; both ways are fine. The recipe is delicious even when I forget parsley. No matter the variation, though, the salmon is moist since it’s poached in the water, and the couscous is flavorful.
This recipe doesn’t take long to put together, and is pretty hands-off. The quantity of couscous easily feeds three or four once you serve it alongside a vegetable, so I usually use extra salmon and plan on leftovers for lunch or dinner for the next day.
- 12-16 oz salmon fillets, skinned
- ½ bunch parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup raisins (optional)
- 3 tablespoons olives, coarsely chopped (or 2-3 tablespoons capers)
- 2 tablespoons capers, coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts or almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional, though I usually use slivered almonds)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (reduced from 4 with extra to drizzle over the top)
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice (the juice of one lemon)
- 1½ cups couscous
- 2 cups water
- salt and pepper
- Grease a 10x8 inch baking dish (2.3-2.8 liter capacity). Place salmon on the bottom and season with salt and pepper.
- Combine parsley, raisins (if using), olives, capers, nuts, olive oil, and lemon juice in a bowl. Stir in couscous and season with salt and pepper. Spread couscous evenly over salmon fillets in baking dish. Add water; make sure salmon is still covered. Spray or drizzle with oil if desired. Bake at 375F for 25 minutes. Fish will flake easily when done.