Snow days as an adult are glorious.
Waking up like a kid on Christmas, peeking through the blinds at the measly 3 inches of snow, and eagerly checking my work website for the notice: Campus is closed…
*Whiny voice* “I used to live in Montana, you don’t know what real snow looks like! You don’t know what it’s like to be really cold!” (PS: no one cares)
Then right back to sleep.
I had been planning on making a Mediterranean-style stew all week long, but now I had allllll day to perfect it. See, weeks ago we went to BJ’s and for once in my freaking life I ordered off the “enlightened” menu (usually I get a bleu cheese bacon burger with fries, a beer, and a pizookie…cheat days FTW). I got some mahi mahi dish that didn’t sound amazing, but ended up blowing my mind. Perfectly cooked fish, swimming in a rich broth with shrimp, pearl couscous, kalamata olives, and a few tomatoes. Ya’ll…I have been dreaming about that damn fish for over a month now.
After all the holiday indulgence, Zack and I decided to try the Mediterranean diet for the month of January. I plan on posting more about the Mediterranean diet in a few weeks, but for now let me just say that it’s awesome. Regardless, as soon as we agreed to give it a shot I began scheming about making the fish. I found a recipe for “Greek Fisherman’s Stew” and modified it pretty heavily to mimic what I’d eaten at BJ’s. While it didn’t entirely satisfy my craving, we still ended up with a pretty healthy, filling dinner that’s Med-diet compliant. And though I took two hours to make this, fussing and tweaking every ingredient, it’s realistically a 45 minute recipe.
Besides the stew, I also made this skillet focaccia bread that was worth every calorie. Intended for broth-dunking, I also ate it hours (and hours) later as a stand-alone snack. It didn’t dry out or get all crumbly. I HIGHLY encourage you to make this bread, whether or not you make the stew to go with it.
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large tomato (I used two but it was waaaaay too much), chopped small
1 cup dry white wine
~1/2 cup kalamata olives, halved
3/4 cup Israeli pearl couscous
2 fish fillets (I used swai, but bass, tilapia, or cod would also be great), chunked
2 handfuls frozen shrimp, chunked
Salt, pepper, red chili flakes to taste
Add a few tablespoons olive oil to a large pot or dutch oven, and saute the onion until soft. Add the garlic and saute another minute. Add the tomato with juices, then cover and cook on medium for about 10 minutes.
Add one cup of dry white wine, then 1 1/2 cups water (if this isn't enough you can add more later), the olives, and the couscous. Simmer for another 10 minutes, or until the couscous is almost cooked through.
Season your fish and shrimp with salt, black pepper, and chili flakes to taste, then add them to the pot and cook for another five minutes or until the couscous is tender and the fish is opaque. Spoon into bowls, and enjoy!
*As always, adjust the seasonings as you see fit. If you want things spicier, add chili flakes to the broth or even some sriracha. The original recipe called for fennel, which has a light licorice taste. Add more veggies, or try a different grain. A garnish of smoked salmon (or even smoked salt) would be a delicious finishing touch!
So tell me, have you tried the Mediterranean diet (check out other fish-friendly recipes here and here)? Any favorite recipes? Any snow day favorites? Comment below!