About this time every year, I find myself daydreaming -- even more than usual -- about cobbled streets lined with weathered laundry, kind strangers who are old but not tired, and fresh air heavy with salt and lavender.
But no matter how many times I click my heels and speak to myself in grammatically-flawed French, I have yet to wake up in Provence. So the other night, I made this for dinner instead. And -- zut alors! -- it pretty much cheered me right up. In addition to the crazy-deliciousness, it's easy and fancy and quick. I'm gonna call that a succès triomphal.
Glorious Mediterranean Feast of Olive-Roasted Fish, Tomatoes Provencal and Couscous
For recipes, read on!
Cut 3 pints of cherry tomatoes in half, and toss them in a baking dish with a little salt and pepper, and just enough evoo to make them shine -- a scant Tbs.
In a food processor, whirl together:
-some yummy but past-its-prime bread (I used 5 or 6 slices of a stale rustic Italian loaf)
-a bunch of flat parsley (reserving about 1/4 cup of the leaves for couscous)
-3 cloves garlic
-1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
-some fresh thyme
-a generous splash of evoo (about 3Tbs)
If the vibrant crumbs don't taste amazing, add a little more salt and evoo until they do. Scatter these over the tomatoes and pop them in at 375* for about 45 minutes.
While that's baking, return to your food processor, which you do not need to wash. Add:
~3/4 cup mixed olive salad, mostly drained (mine, from Costco of course, is called Greek Mezze, and includes mostly kalamata olives, but also a few nice green olives, pepperoncini and a wee bit of feta cheese, packed in herbs and oil)
-1 whole shallot, peeled
-the juice of one lemon
-fresh ground pepper
Mix it together until it's quite smooth, then pour the briny sludge over six tilapia fillets. Pop it in the oven with the tomatoes. The fish needs about 35 minutes, until it's done but not dry, so everything should finish up at the same time.
About 15 minutes before your oven timer dings, make 2 cups whole wheat couscous according to the package directions, subbing veggie or chicken stock for the water. While the couscous is steeping, toast 1/3 cup pine nuts in a dry pan on the stove, then toss those along with the reserved chopped parsley and 1/2 cup dried currants with the couscous.
Serve it hot, all together with fresh lemons, more olives and sparkling water. It is so good. And might help you live forever. I think I might make it again tonight....