Sardine and White Bean Stew over Couscous

I’m back. Well, I’ve been back since Thursday night.

I’m currently craving cheap espresso, fresh seafood, all things ham, and vermouth. I could absolutely go back to Portugal or Spain. I loved them both.

The recaps are in progress, I promise. In the meantime, I’ve been catching up on a lot of sleep and easing back into normal routines, whatever those are supposed to be. Between busy season at work and the vacation, I’m not sure I know anymore. Coming home to a three-day weekend was pretty awesome. I grilled because it’s Memorial weekend, and I’ve been dying to cook. The latest issue of Bon Appétit came in awhile I was gone, and it has a whole section about food and drink in Barcelona. Perfect timing. I was excited to see my favorite little bar of the whole trip was mentioned in it.

Since I’m clearly on a seafood kick, let’s eat some sardine and white bean stew. I’m always amazed by couscous whenever I actually decide to buy some. I eat it so infrequently, and you hardly ever see it in restaurants, that I forget how quickly it cooks. I don’t think I’ve ever screwed up a batch either. Is it possible to over/undercook it? I don’t think I have ever done it, not that I’ve tried.

Well, it’s a good base for pouring this sardine stew over the top of it. It’s not a heavy stew, and is totally brightened up by the fennel and white beans. The sardines are broken down within, so you only get hints of salty flesh here and there. It’s not overbearing in the slightest.

Inspiration: A Thought for Food

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 small fennel bulb, think sliced
  • 15oz can chopped tomatoes, drained
  • 14oz can white beans, drained
  • 4oz sardines packed in oil, drained
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons, chopped parsley
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a non-stick skillet on medium high heat. Cook the bread crumbs for a few minutes until it’s golden brown and smelling toasty. Set aside.

Add another two tablespoons of olive oil into the skillet, and lower the heat to medium. Add the garlic, carrots, fennel, and a pinch of salt and pepper to the skillet, and cook for a few minutes until it starts to soften. Add the tomatoes, beans, and sardines with a pinch or two of a red pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to breakdown the sardines into the vegetable mixture. It will thicken as it cooks. Taste for additional salt.

While the vegetables cook, bring a pot with the cup of water, oil, and salt to a boil. Add the couscous, turn off the heat, and cover. Allow it to cook for three minutes, absorbing the water. Fluff with a fork when it’s done.

Layer the stew over the couscous and top with the parsley and breadcrumbs before serving.

4 comments

  1. Amy Mills

    weeee so excited for the recaps. I was pretty much dying with jealousy with every instagram post you had while in portugal and spain (and props to you, it seems like you did those country’s justice with all the great food you ate).

    I came back dying to cook too, although for me I think spanish and portuguese cuisines are some of the hardest to translate to home cooking (in a different country) – it’s so ingredient driven, with ingredients that are so regional and specific. Maybe that’s all world cooking though? In any case I hope for my sake that you are inspired from your trip and continue to cook iberian dishes – I want to see how you do it! For me, I just brought back tins of sardines in spicy tomato sauce and ate them on baguette, haha.

    • Michelle

      You can’t be dying of too much jealousy – you were just there! Although, I was equally jealous of your trip since you spent so much time in one place. Travel jealousy is just inevitable around here.

      Spanish and Portuguese cuisine seem equal parts easy and complicated thanks to those delicious, regional ingredients. I’ve already bookmarked a tortilla espanola that I want to try, but I don’t think I’m going to be picking up any bacalhao anytime soon. Every time I went into a market, I thought about how you said sourcing ingredients for baking and cooking is so much harder while in France, and I saw it there too. Yet I found delicious ham in a supermerkat for a euro. That would seem abundantly more sketchy at home. I’m not picking up deli meats in a 7-11, but I have no shame in Barcelona apparently.

  2. Eileen

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say they were craving vermouth before! :) Just goes to show how sad the vermouth situation is here, I guess. This stew, sounds delicious, and I’m super excited to heat about your trip!

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