It’s hot, it’s sticky and the last thing you want to do is move out that comfortable position you finally found yourself in. No, I’m not referring to that post coital afterglow, I’m talking about summer weather. And really, you need to quit bitching about it since it’s what you were looking forward to all those months when you were bundled up like the Stay-Puft marshmallow man and slogging through the slop and snow of winter. I totally understand how you don’t want to really do much of anything when the mercury is practically exploding out of the thermometer. But you do have to eat. That’s when light dinner recipes like this whole wheat couscous with scallops and preserved lemon comes in handy.
Neither man, nor woman, can survive on popsicles alone but it’s funny how we all try to do that at some point. Summer heat tends to turn your appetite down quite a bit, so light dinner recipes are a must. Aside from the frozen treats, a big cool salad is typically the other summer favorite for dinner but those can get tired pretty quickly. So what’s a hungry person to do?
Summer eating calls for light eating. You already feel kind of sluggish, thanks to the heat and humidity so you don’t need a big full belly adding to that feeling. Plus, summertime is sexy time. You know…wearing all those skimpy clothes, or no clothes at all, and trying to keep yourself in the shape you need so that you can continue wearing all those (or not so much all those) outfits.
This easy scallop recipe is something that will make your head, belly and waistline happy. It’s made with whole wheat couscous, so it comes together quickly and the whole wheat keeps you feeling full, longer. I used frozen scallops in this recipe, but if you can get some nice fresh one’s you could use those instead. (I have a hard time being able to find really nice fresh scallops when I need them, so I usually have a bag of frozen scallops on hand.) The preserved lemon in this easy scallop recipe adds a bit of tanginess to the dish as well as a bit of change from just plain ol’ lemon (but if you don’t have preserved lemons, you could use some fresh lemon juice and zest instead).
Summer eating is all about keeping things easy too. This easy dinner recipe is one that you can really play with. You can replace the scallops with shrimp, you can change up the lemon (like I mentioned above), you could throw in some chopped red peppers or even sprinkle on some chili flake for some added heat. Whole wheat couscous is like a big blank slate just waiting to take in flavors.
So make up a big pot of this for dinner tonight and you’ll have leftovers for a nice cold lunch tomorrow and maybe even for dinner too. Summer eating doesn’t just have to be all about frozen treats and salads. You can eat ‘real’ food and still feel light and satisfied.
Sometimes the heat can be a good thing.
Recipe: Light Dinner Recipes: Whole Wheat Couscous with Scallops and Preserved Lemon
- 2 Cups Whole Wheat Couscous
- 2-1/2 Cups Water
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Large Shallot, sliced thin
- 1/2 to 3/4 Preserved Lemon
- 1 Medium Fennel Bulb (white part only), diced
- 1-1/4 Cups Chicken Stock
- 8 oz Bay Scallops
- Kosher Salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.
- Bring water to a boil in 4 quart saucepan and add in the whole wheat couscous. Bring back to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and continue to cook until all of the water has been absorbed or for 10 minutes. (Don’t cook it any longer than that.) Then remove from heat.
- In a small sauté pan, heat olive oil until it shimmers. Add in the sliced shallot and reduce heat to medium low. Cook shallots until they begin to caramelize and turn brown. You’ll need to stir them from time to time so that they don’t burn. Continue cooking the shallots until they are a nice golden brown color then remove from heat.
- Take the preserved lemon and cut it into quarters. You’ll only use ½ – ¾ of it. You can put the remaining lemon back into the jar. Remove the insides of the lemon, so you are left with the yellow rind. Rinse well under cool running water. Finely chop the preserved lemon so that you have really small pieces.
- Drain any remaining water from the couscous and return the couscous to the pot.
- Add the caramelized shallots and the oil they were cooked in, chopped preserved lemon, diced fennel and chicken stock to the couscous. Stir to combine everything thoroughly. Taste and then add some salt and pepper. Make sure you taste first, before adding any more salt. The preserved lemons already have quite a bit of salt in them, so you want to make sure it’s not too salty.
- Pour this mixture into an 8”x8” pan and top with scallops. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove the foil and cook for an additional 7 minutes (this will brown the top a bit and give you some nice crunchy pieces of couscous).
- Top with chopped fresh parsley.
If you don’t have preserved lemons, you can add 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice to the mixture then top with 1 tablespoon of lemon zest just before serving.
You could also skip baking this in the oven if you don’t want to heat up your kitchen. It won’t have any of crunch, but it will still taste delicious. Just add the scallops to the pan of browning shallots. When the shallots are turning translucent, that’s when you would add in the scallops. Bay scallops don’t take long to cook. Once they turn white, they’re done. Then just continue the directions as stated.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Cooking time: 27 minute(s)
Diet type: Pescatarian
Number of servings (yield): 8
Culinary tradition: USA (General)
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