Shrimp with Couscous

I splurged a bit at Central Market today and bought 1 1/2 pounds of peeled, deveined shrimp so I could make Shrimp with Couscous from the March 2004 issue of Everyday Food. Frozen shrimp is definitely cheaper, but the bagged stuff I’ve had here has been unfortunately fishy-tasting. I’m a firm believer in the idea that you can’t have great food without great ingredients. Shrimp that hasn’t been deveined is also cheaper, but that’s a chore I’ll pay to skip. 🙂

I started by prepping my vegetables. I shredded 2 carrots, sliced 2 leeks (white parts only), and thinly sliced 5 garlic cloves. I also thawed 1 cup of frozen peas by running cold water over them in a colander.

I heated 1 tablespoon of olive oil in my Lodge cast iron skillet (any 12-inch skillet will do) and cooked the shrimp, tossed with salt and pepper, until just opaque (about 4 minutes). I removed the shrimp from the pan and set them aside.

Next, I added another tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and stirred in 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds. After the seeds started to pop (about 30 seconds), I added the leeks, carrots, and garlic. I cooked that mixture for 5 minutes and then added 1 cup of couscous, the peas, and 2 cups of boiling water. I seasoned everything with salt and pepper, removed the pan from the heat, covered it and let it stand for 5 minutes to allow the couscous to steep. Finally, I stirred the shrimp back into the mixture.


This was pretty good. I’ll give it a “green” rating, but not a “bold green.” The couscous mixture on its own was lacking a bit, but the bites with shrimp were tasty. I might try adding a little lemon to this recipe the next time around.

TIPS: Leeks usually have to be rinsed multiple times to remove all grit before cooking. Slice them, put them in a bowl of cold water, and swish them around. The sliced leeks will float on top and the grit will sink to the bottom. Remove the leeks with a slotted spoon, dump the gritty water, and repeat until no more grit appears at the bottom of the bowl. (I only had to wash mine twice tonight, but three times is normal.) If you’ve never worked with leeks, they look like giant green onions (scallions).

I used a teapot to boil my water, but you could microwave it as well. Both of these methods usually take less time than boiling water on the stove top.

Recipe link: Shrimp with Couscous


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