Aromatic sauce of prawns and cauliflower, with clams, chickpeas, tomatoes, and feta served over Israeli couscous. A twist on an Ottolenghi favorite.
Do you buy cookbooks and cook one, maybe two, recipes from them before squeezing them onto a shelf and out of your mind? How about magazines? I’m the worst! I could be considered a hoarder. I have piles of cooking magazines, stuffed with mouth-watering recipes I’ve yet to try, stacked in places all over the house, and yet whenever I’m standing in line at the grocery, counting the items in the cart in front of me to make sure the woman talking on her cell phone isn’t over the 15-item limit for my line, I invariably slip a new cooking magazine into my cart. I can’t resist. They really need less appetizing photos on their covers.
I’m certain that when I die, my family will unlock a storage locker I’ll someday have to rent, only to find thousands of cookbooks and cooking magazines stacked to the ceiling.
One of the few exceptions to this little issue of mine is the Jerusalem cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi. I have two of his other cookbooks, but Jerusalem remains my favorite for now. I’ve cooked lots of dishes from it over the years, and continue to explore its pages. So when it was my turn to host our #ProgressiveDinner this month, I chose the theme of Middle Eastern and Moroccan food for the group, and leafed through my Ottolenghi cookbooks for inspiration. To pay proper homage to Ottolenghi, and his incredible talent for deliciously eclectic dishes, I modeled this amazing dinner from his Prawns, Scallops & Clams with Tomato and Feta in the Jerusalem cookbook. I made some changes, because I can’t help doing that any more than I can help buying a new cooking magazine, but I think he’d be ok with it. I hope you are too.
If you’re unfamiliar with his book, go here to check it out (affiliate link)!
I cook the shrimp and clams earlier and only add them at the end in the final cooking stage to warm them up.
The entire dish can be made a couple of days in advance, keeping the cooked shrimp and clams packaged separately in your refrigerator. Heat the sauce, cook the couscous, and add the seafood to the sauce at the end.
Don’t cheat on the spices, and substitute something else. They make a big difference to the final dish, IMHO.
Harissa is a spicy Middle-Eastern condiment that varies greatly in its heat. Experiment by adding a little at a time. The harissa I used was a mild version!
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 scallions sliced into 2" long pieces, about ¾ cup
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt (or a pinch of table salt)
- ¾ pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 pounds clams, cleaned
- 1½ tablespoon Chunky Garlic Paste (or 1 tablespoon thinly sliced garlic)
- 3 cups chopped cauliflower (1/2 head)
- 1 red pepper, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
- ½ cup raisins packed
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 28-ounce peeled whole tomatoes
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt (or ¼ teaspoon table salt)
- 2 teaspoons harissa (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed
- ½ teaspoon dried Valencia orange peel
- 1 cup cooked garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
- 8 pieces feta, cut into ½" squares, plus more for serving
- 2 cups cooked Israeli couscous
- Heat up the oil in a small pan over medium-high heat until sizzling. Add the scallions, and sprinkle with salt. Sauté until soft and browned, tossing only occasionally.
- Lightly salt and pepper the shrimp. Heat up 1 tablespoon oil in the same pan used for the scallions, and add the shrimp in batches. Cook for approximately 2 minutes per side. They won't be completely cooked through. When they're added to the sauce, they'll finish cooking.
- Pour the wine into a medium pot over medium-high heat, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes to reduce the wine to about ¾ cup. Add the clams all at once, and cover the pot. Cook until the clams all open, about 10 minutes. Remove from the broth, and reserve the broth for later.
- Add 3 tablespoons oil to a large heavy-bottomed pot - I use my Le Creuset with great success - over medium-high heat. Stir in the garlic paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the cauliflower and red pepper chunks all at once and toss to completely coat with oil and garlic. Sauté until fragrant and slightly soft, about 10 minutes. Add the raisins and cook for an additional 2 minutes, tossing often. There should be a brown coating on the bottom of the pot by now. Add the balsamic vinegar, toss, and scrape up the brown bits from the pot.
- Stir in the tomatoes, and squeeze the tomatoes by hand to tear into pieces. Add the vegetable broth, ½ cup of the reserved clam and wine broth, salt, and harissa.
- Grind the oregano, fennel, and orange peel together using a mortar and pestle. Add to the sauce. Stir in the chickpeas and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes to blend the flavors, and add the chunks of feta, cooked shrimp, and cooked clams. Cook for another 5 minutes to slightly melt the feta and warm up the seafood. The shrimp will finish cooking at this stage.
- To serve, spoon ½ cup cooked Israeli coucous on a plate and top with a generous serving of the sauce. Finish with the garnish of cooked scallions.
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month we’re sharing a Middle Eastern/Moroccan Menu, and our event is hosted by Susan, who blogs at The Wimpy Vegetarian. We have a full menu of ideas to tempt you into the kitchen and release your inner-Ottolenghi. If you’re looking for something new to try, check out these wonderfully creative dishes!
Progressive Eats Middle Eastern/Moroccan Menu
- Pomegranate Green Tea Mojito from The Redhead Baker
- Hummus Tehina from Food Hunters Guide to Cuisine
- Lamb Chelo Kebab from Spice Roots
- Prawns, Feta, and Tomatoes over Couscous from The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Homemade Pita Bread from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Jeweled Persian-Style Rice (Gluten-Free) from The Heritage Cook
- Pomegranate Posset from Mother Would Know
- Moroccan Shortbread Cookies with Cracked Tops (Ghoriba Bahla) from Pastry Chef Online
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.
We have a core group of 12 bloggers, but we will always need substitutes and if there is enough interest would consider additional groups. To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information.