Tag Archives: Zucchini

Perfect Fish with Couscous and Sauteed Zucchini

29 Aug

Today I’m featuring three different dishes which are all extremely easy, fast, and really hard to mess up.  I spent a bit less than 30 minutes preparing this feast.  The technique I show here for preparing the fish can be used with any kind of fish you want to cook this way, like tilapia or salmon.  The advantages with this method are that the aluminum foil makes cleanup very easy, and your fish will not dry out.  Fish will take 10 minutes to cook per inch of thickness, so if you cook salmon this way, sometimes the fillets are thicker than 1 inch and will require additional time.

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Serves 2

1/2-1 pound tilapia

dried or fresh dill

1 small lime or 1 lemon wedge per fillet of fish

olive oil or butter for the fish and for sauteing the zucchini

1 medium zucchini

2/3 cup whole wheat couscous + 1 cup water (ratio of water to couscous is 1.5 to 1)

About 1 cup fresh spinach or arugula

1/2-1 cup frozen peas or edamame (I probably would have used peas here, but I happened to have frozen edamame)

sun dried tomatoes

salt and pepper to taste


First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Use a cookie sheet or a glass baking pan and cover with enough aluminum foil to wrap the fish fillets.  Rinse the fish, and place on the foil.  Salt and pepper the fish, pour on some olive oil, and cover with the dill.  Turn over a few times, using your hands to cover the fish with the oil, salt, pepper evenly. Then, cover the fish with the aluminum foil, as pictured below.

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Couscous and Zucchini

It takes a while for the oven the heat to 400, so while you wait, prepare the couscous and chop the zucchini.  Bring the water to a boil with about a 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  When the water boils, stir in the couscous and the peas or edamame, and immediately take off the heat.  Cover, and let sit for 5 minutes.

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If the oven is done heating, pop the fish in the oven and set a timer for 10 minutes.  As the fish cooks, heat about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Chop the zucchini.  Once the skillet is hot, put the zucchini on, and sprinkle with some salt and pepper.  You’ll want to stir the zucchini a few times as it cooks.  It will take 5-10 minutes.

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By this point, your couscous will be done.  Uncover, and stir in the spinach or arugula, along with the chopped sun dried tomatoes.

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Check your zucchini.  You don’t want it to get too done.  Mine looked like this when I took it off the heat (this picture’s not the best, but hopefully it gets the idea across):

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Whenever your timer goes off, take the fish out of the oven and check to make sure it’s done.  You may not be finished with the zucchini and couscous when the fish is done, but if not just let the fish sit wrapped in the foil until everything else is ready.

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To finish, I added a bit of parmesan cheese to the zucchini, and I squeezed some lime juice onto my fish.


Sunday Challenge: Greek Zucchini Pie

26 Aug

This vegetable pie is the first of a series of “Sunday Challenges” I will feature on The People’s Gourmet.  Sunday is the day of the week when I normally attempt more complex or time-consuming culinary endeavors I don’t have time for the rest of the week.  This pie is very much worth the effort, and it’s a really great way to get a lot of vegetables into one dish.

This recipe is also from the New York Times, as were my bean tacos but I altered this dish a bit.  Here, I use parmesan cheese instead of the feta because that’s what I had on hand, and I reduced the cooking time.  The recipe indicates a cooking time of 40-50 minutes, but I cooked my zucchini pie for just 25-30 minutes.  Phyllo dough burns easily, so I think 40-50 minutes is too much.  I also did not grate my zucchini, but cut it into coins instead.  During the winter, I like making pies like this one, except with winter vegetables, like kale or swiss chard.  This pie will take a bit of time, but an hour of it is inactive.

Here’s what you need:

Time:  About 2-2.5 hours total

Special equipment:  brush for brushing olive oil onto phyllo dough (see picture below), 8 -10-inch pie pan or quiche pan

3-4 medium zucchini

Salt to taste

About 2 tablespoons olive oil for sauteeing onion, garlic, and zucchini, plus extra for brushing phyllo dough

1 medium or large onion

2 or 3 cloves of fresh garlic

2/3 cup fresh dill

1/3 cup fresh parsley

2/3-1 cup feta cheese or parmesan cheese

3 eggs

Freshly ground black pepper

10 sheets of phyllo dough (phyllo dough usually comes frozen, so make sure you leave it out to thaw several hours before you plan to use it)

Step 1: Slice the zucchini.

zucchini coins

zucchini coins

Step 2: Place the zucchini in a medium bowl, toss with about 2 teaspoons of salt.

Salted Zucchini

salted zucchini

Step 3: Place zucchini in a colander or strainer, and leave for about 1 hour.  The salt will extract a lot of water from the zucchini. You want to do this step so that the water in the zucchini will not make your crust soggy.

zucchini in a strainer over a bowl

zucchini in a strainer over a bowl

water collected after a half hour

water collected after a half hour

Step 4: Press zucchini between a few paper towels to remove any excess water.  Set aside for a moment in a bowl.

pressing the zucchini

pressing the zucchini

Step 5: Preheat oven to 350.  In a pan large enough to hold your zucchini with onions and garlic, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Chop the onion and garlic.  When your pan is hot, throw in the onion, and allow to cook for about 5 minutes.

chopped onions and garlic

chopped onions and garlic

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Step 6: Add zucchini and garlic.  Cook for 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.

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Step 7: As the zucchini, onion, and garlic cook, chop the herbs and the cheese (I used a small block of parmesan that I chopped, but you can grate if you want or use pre-grated cheese), and beat the eggs.  Add freshly ground black pepper, then, combine with herbs and cheese.

dill and parsley

dill and parsley

beaten eggs with freshly ground pepper

beaten eggs with freshly ground pepper

herbs, eggs, cheese, and pepper

herbs, eggs, cheese, and pepper

Step 8: Mix about half a cup of the zucchini, onion, and garlic mixture into the egg mixture to heat up the eggs so that rest of the hot zucchini mixture will not produce scrambled eggs.  Then, mix in the rest of the zucchini mixture.

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Step 9: Pour about 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a bowl.  Get out your brush.  My phyllo dough was a little large for the quiche pan I used, so I cut the sheets in half.

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sheets of phyllo dough

sheets of phyllo dough

Step 10: Assemble the crust.  Brush each sheet of phyllo with a bit of olive oil, and layer 5 of these sheets in the bottom of your pan.

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Step 11: Fill crust with zucchini/egg mixture.

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Step 12: Brush 5 more sheets of phyllo dough with olive oil, and layer on top of the pie. When done, tuck in the sides of the dough.

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Step 13: Bake for about 30 minutes.  Your pie will look about like this:

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