When the heatwave first started, I had not cottoned on that it would mean that I would not want to turn on the oven or stove so I had planned highly inappropriate meals. But by the end of the week, I was starting to get my act together and so for Sunday dinner I looked for prawn and seafood dishes that would require minimal cooking.
I am not a big salad fan and in this heat I still like to have something warm for dinner. Either that or ice cream. My very delicious dinner one night last week was Maggie Beer’s chocolate and salted caramel ice cream combining most of my favourite foods: ice cream, chocolate and salted caramel. One thing I like about calorie counting to lose weight is that I can exchange a ‘real’ meal for ice cream.
But back to ‘proper’ dinners. I found a recipe on Martha Stewart’s website that sound delicious: scallops with saffron and sherry couscous. It sounded fabulous but I had never cooked couscous before. I wasn’t sure I was reading the recipe right when it said to bring the liquid ingredients and spices to the boil and then add the couscous, remove it from the heat and cover for 5 minutes. I wasn’t sure how the couscous was going to cook.
But you know what, it worked (how could I have doubted Martha)! I had expected the scallops to be the hero of this dish and whilst they were lovely, it was the couscous with its beautiful infused flavours that made this dish. In some ways it is a shame that some of the flavours come from deglazing the pan as this would make a fabulous side dish for so many meals. The flavours in the couscous aren’t amazingly strong but they are beautifully balanced and the couscous has a lovely soft light texture when you pop it in your mouth.
To make this for one person I used the following ingredients:
- 125g scallops
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- a quick grind of pepper
- 3/4 tbs of olive oil
- 15ml of dry sherry
- 160ml chicken stock (I didn’t use low salt – I am not a low salt fan when it comes to stock and soy sauce…)
- 3/4 tbs of unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- Pinch of saffron
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- 1/2 cup of couscous
I didn’t make any changes to how it was cooked but the scallops took a bit longer than the recipe said to go a nice golden colour. I am not sure if this is because the scallops I used were quite big or that they were still quite cold from defrosting. I probably should have let them warm up more at room temperature before putting the scallops in the pan. Either way it was all still delicious.
The calories came out at about 485 which isn’t bad when it includes the carbs and proteins.
I don’t often cook seafood. I think for the most part it needs to be cooked fresh so I don’t like freezing it. I had planned on buying fresh scallops but I got diverted from the markets as my Mum volunteered to come over and help me clip my little fluff ball of a terrier who was overheating. So I ended up at the supermarket which only had frozen. I would like to re do this recipe with fresh but the frozen were ok. I do cook frozen fish from the supermarket but I don’t do anything to that other than pop it in the oven or microwave as required by the packet and it isn’t really the same as fresh fish.
I am also a bit afraid of fresh fish. All the cooking shows go on about how hard it is to cook fish just right – it is too easy to over or under cook. But cooking fish is something I would like to master one day.