Sunday, 10 March 2013

Takin' It & Bakin' It!

Couscous con i Gamberi, Broccoli e Peperone al Forno, Pinoli, Uvetta Secca & Limone
Couscous with Shrimp, Roasted Broccoli & Peppers, Pine Nuts, Raisins and Lemon

How would you like a really light, really healthy but really satisfying meal, full of flavors and textures, but low on fuss and fat? Of course you are used to seeing that on my little blog by now, but this was a new and altogether delicious combination I tried out this evening- and I think you are going to like it!

I recently made my first baked cauliflower and the way the simple preparation brought out the very best out of the flavor was such a revelation, I decided to do the same with the broccoli in this dish... and whilst the oven and broiler were on, I thought to myself- why not bake the peppers too? If the flavor is perfect without oil... then why add it?  The only fat used in this dish, was a little sesame oil which I used to fry the shrimp in... otherwise this is an ultra-healthy, easy, quick and fun meal- and we all like that now, don't we?

To make this, I took the broccoli and cut it into individual florettes which I then cut down the middle, and took a pointed red pepper, cut away the seeds and then chopped up into bite-sized strips. I laid them out on a baking try- as they were, with no added oil, and popped them into the oven at 400°F for 10 minutes. In that time I prepared the couscous. For the couscous, poured over enough boiling water to cover it and then went about chopping a handful each of parsley and basil, along with a few chives, which went in next. Whilst the couscous was still hot, I added a handful of raisins and a tablespoon of Ras el Hanout Rouge spice, salt, pepper and a good squeeze of lemon juice. So by now I was almost half way there!

Next, I toasted a good handful of pine nuts in a dry frying pan... and whilst that was happening, I took the broccoli and peppers out of the oven and turned them over, then popped them back inside for a final 10 minutes. By now the pine kernels were golden brown, so out they came and in went a few drops of sesame oil and the shrimp. I sautéed them briefly for 2-3 minutes and then seasoned them with a hint of cayenne, also a little Ras el Hanout and then added a squeeze of lemon and turned off the heat.

Whilst the shrimp cooled slightly, I served up the couscous, then took the broccoli and peppers out of the oven and spread them out on top. I seasoned with sea salt and pepper and gave them a squeeze of lemon juice- then added the pine nuts and oh wow was that a great combination! The shrimp were added last of all, along with a sprinkle of coarsely ground black pepper and lemon zest and a last squeeze of lemon juice. And I have to admit- the combination tasted as good as it looks! If not much, much better!

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