The second we tasted our recipe for dukkah, the Egyptian nut and spice blend (see the recipe), we knew warm Israeli couscous and tender halibut would highlight its flavors. The flaky white fish is enhanced by a crust of the fragrant spice blend, pairing perfectly with the bright vegetable-packed couscous salad. It’s light while still comforting, and extremely addictive.
When broiling a flaky fish like halibut, make sure it doesn’t stick to the baking sheet or the fillet will fall apart. By spreading dukkah on the bottom of each fillet in addition to the top crust, it does not only season the fish but creates a layer to prevent the fish from sticking.
To learn more, read “Your Pantry's New Best Friend: Dukkah.”
Dukkah-Crusted Halibut with Warm Israeli Couscous
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
For the Couscous Salad:
1 medium zucchini, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 small eggplant, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper—stemmed, seeded and cut into ½-inch pieces
1 small serrano pepper—stemmed, seeded and minced
½ cup olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
Kosher salt, to taste
3½ cups water
2 cups Israeli couscous
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped chives
3 garlic cloves, mashed into a paste
For the Halibut:
Four 6-to-8-ounce halibut fillets
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup dukkah
Chopped parsley, for garnish
Chopped chives, for garnish
1. Make the couscous salad: Preheat the oven to 450º. In a large bowl, toss together the zucchini, eggplant, bell pepper and serrano with ¼ cup of the olive oil and the thyme leaves, then season with salt. Spread on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast until golden brown and tender, 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the water and Israeli couscous, then season lightly with salt. Bring to a simmer, then cook, covered, until the couscous is tender and the water is absorbed, 15 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the vegetables and add the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, chives and garlic paste. Season with salt and toss to coat. Keep warm.
3. Make the halibut: Turn on the broiler and place the rack in the center of the oven. Pat the halibut fillets dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper, then rub 1 tablespoon of olive oil on each fillet. Drop 1 tablespoon of the dukkah spice blend for each fillet 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread out the mix so it’s about as big as each fillet. Lay the fillets over the spice mix and rub 2 more tablespoons of the spice mix on top of each fillet.
4. Place the baking sheet in the oven and broil until the crust is golden and the fish is fully cooked, 5 to 7 minutes.
5. Divide the couscous salad between plates and top each with a halibut fillet. Garnish with chopped parsley and chives, then serve.