T'fayas, special-occasion dishes served all along Morocco's Atlantic coast, are known for their thick, sweet and heavily spiced sauces. This one gets a pleasant layer of sweetness from raisins and a touch of sugar, which marries perfectly with halibut.
extra-virgin olive oil, divided
saffron threads, (see Ingredient Note)
freshly ground pepper
large onions, (2-2 1/2 pounds), very thinly sliced
reduced-sodium chicken broth, fish broth or vegetable broth, divided
Pacific halibut, or other firm white fish, skinned and cut into 2-inch wide pieces
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
sliced or slivered almonds
Place raisins in a small bowl and cover with warm water; let soak for 10 minutes. Drain.
Crush saffron and salt together in a mortar and pestle until a coarse powder forms. (Alternatively, place saffron and salt on a cutting board and use the flat side of a chef's knife to grind into a coarse powder.) Combine with ginger, turmeric
, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper in a small bowl.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil
and butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the spice mixture and cook, stirring, until the mixture starts to foam. Add onions, sugar and the plumped raisins. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn light brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Add 1 cup broth and nestle fish into the onion mixture. Cover and cook until the fish is flaky, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with pepper. Cover and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat canola oil
in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add almonds and cook, stirring, until just beginning to turn golden, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towels.
Bring the remaining 1 1/3 cups broth and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil
to a boil in a small saucepan. Add couscous in a stream. Stir once. Cover, remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
To serve, mound the couscous
on a shallow platter. Top with the fish and onion t'faya and sprinkle the almonds on top.
Ingredient note: The dried stigma from Crocus sativus, saffron
adds flavor and golden color to a variety of Middle Eastern, African and European foods. Find it in the spice section of supermarkets, gourmet shops and at tienda.com. It will keep in an airtight container for several years.
Calories 464, Total Fat 18 g, Saturated Fat 4 g, Monounsaturated Fat 9 g, Cholesterol 54 mg, Sodium 702 mg, Carbohydrate 39 g, Fiber 6 g, Protein 37 g, Potassium 839 mg. Exchanges: Starch 1.5, Vegetable 1, Fruit 0.5, Lean Meat 4, Fat 2.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet