Sweet, smoky, spicy.

Our 14-day no-meat ban ends tomorrow!

I’ll admit that I didn’t miss red meat or poultry as much as I thought I would. (Bacon is another story. I love the pig.) We have experimented with some really tasty vegetarian or fish recipes in the last two weeks, but last night’s meal won the gold medal.

After my inspiration-seeking adventure with Cholula last night, I came home to learn that John had picked up some sturgeon filets at the fish market. Hmmm. Sturgeon? Not only had I never made a dish with sturgeon, but I wasn’t even sure what kind of fish it was. He had a recipe in mind already, so I took the reins on our side dish instead.

I’ve never seen John use a recipe before. Seeing one printed out on the counter along side my own indicated that we were both in uncharted territory here. Two new recipes in one night! Our ambitious menu for the evening was Broiled Sturgeon with Hazelnuts and a Lemon-Honey Jalapeno Glaze served with Israeli Couscous Salad with Smoked Paprika. Double yum.

The coucous included some chopped veggies, herbs, feta cheese, and a paprika vinaigrette. While John rinsed and dried the fish, I got started. The dressing was very simple, but called for something I hadn’t used before- white balsamic vinegar. A little research taught me that white balsamic vinegar is similar in taste to the kind we’re used to (true), and would be used mostly for aesthetic purposes.

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(See me in the vinaigrette?)

I like to toast couscous in the pan before I add the liquid (I used chicken stock). Toasting it brings out the nutty flavor. While the couscous did its thing on the stove, I chopped up the rest of the vibrant ingredients- spinach, grape tomatoes, mint, roasted red peppers, chopped almonds for crunch, and salty feta cheese. So colorful and fresh! Everybody joined the party in a big bowl, mixed together with the smoky, red-orange dressing.

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While I finished my half of the meal, John was creating some sort of glaze magic on the stove. I like a recipe that lets the fish be FISH– just a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and into the broiler it went while John finished up the sauce. From what I could tell, the ingredients were all combined and simmered on the stove to thicken and become delish.

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We cleaned up the kitchen, set the table (er, counter), and poured the wine while the sturgeon finished broiling (about 5-6 minutes per side). We sat down to enjoy another tag-team success, our plates full of color and TONS of flavor. The fish was firm but flaky, and the glaze had a sweet and spicy smokiness to it that paired well with the paprika in the couscous dressing. I ate every bite!

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When you eat like this, it’s easy to keep red meat out of your diet. You never feel like something is missing.

Well, almost. I’ve already got recipes using bacon in mind for later this week. 

9 replies »

  1. First, I don’t eat enough fish and I should… this looks delish. Second, that couscous salad looks like something I could eat on for days!! YUM,that looks amazing and easy. I’ll have to try. Thanks … it always reminds me that good food doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming to make. Cheers! ( are we drinking wine, yet?)

  2. My boyfriend’s not into the larger couscous that I like to cook with, but I don’t often do much to it to amp it up for him. It’s like our little couscous battle. It’s ongoing. No one can win.

    I think I’ll try this combination of ingredients next time I cook some couscous up. If he complains this time… I dunno. He might have to sleep on the couch or something;)

    • I think couscous is like rice- you can dress it up in any flavors that you like. This one was definitely Greek, with the feta and mint, but any veggies would work. I prefer the bigger couscous. The smaller version gets mushier when I make it. It’s probably user error… 🙂

  3. Bacon is amazing, I don’t know if I could ever live without it :). I love those blue plates! They are amazing and I like that they aren’t completely round very sheik. I am not a fish eater at all, I never liked it but I may try to venture out a little bit and try some new recipes. Thanks for the inspiration… could that get any cornier!

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