As much as I enjoyed the fantastic lunch we had at Brasserie Cicou, I don’t think that I’ll be able to develop a sincere appreciation for French cuisine. Not that I don’t enjoy it, I do. It’s just that I don’t see myself as sophisticated enough to ever truly appreciate fine wine, which is, from what I understand, a vital part of French cuisine.
Further handicapped by my lack of dexterity for fine cutlery and the propensity to chew with my mouth open, I often find myself drawn to less refined, but uninhibited dishes, the kind with bold and sexy flavors that dance around your mouth like a hot salsa dancer.
This festive, fiery plate, of grilled harissa shrimp and couscous with pine nuts, is that such a dish.
- 2 Tbsps harissa
- 2 Tbsps extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsps calamansi juice
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 kilo shelled and deveined large shrimp (26-30 pcs/half kilo)
- 4 firm, ripe tomatoes, halved
- 1 zucchini, sliced
- 1 cup couscous
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1/4 cup garlic oil
- 1/4 cup raisins or any dried fruit (Ren used dried cherries, cranberries and blueberries)
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- Chopped fresh mint and basil leaves
- Combine harissa, 2 Tbsps each of oil and calamansi juice, cumin, and 1/2 tsp salt in small bowl. Put shrimp in medium bowl and toss with half the sauce (reserve the rest). Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Thread shrimp onto skewers.
- Heat grill to high (450 degress F to 550 degress F). Pour chicken stock in large saucepan, season with salt and pepper, then bring to a boil.
- Turn off heat and gently stir in couscous, dried fruits and garlic oil. Set aside for 15 minutes while you grill shrimp and vegetables.
- Brush tomatoes and zucchini with remaining 1 Tbsp oil. Grill shrimp, zucchini, and tomatoes while covered, turning just once, until shrimp is opaque and vegetables are softened.
- Add in pine nuts and chopped herbs to couscous and gently fluff with fork to combine.
- Serve grilled shrimp with vegetables, couscous and remaining sauce.
DID YOU KNOW?
That harissa is sometimes referred to as the “Ketchup of Tunisia?”