HERB-ROASTED FLORIDA FISH (full dinner menu) Israeli Couscous with Apricots, Roasted Asparagus

This is a very simple, make ahead way to fix local caught fish.  I recommend yellow tail snapper or mangrove snapper, but you can use any white fish.  It looks quite impressive at a dinner party.   I adapted this from Ina Garten’s “Make it Ahead” cookbook, which is now my favorite!!

IMG_0798Herb-Roasted Fish:


  • 4 (12 x 16 in.) pieces of parchment paper
  • 4 (8 oz.) boneless, skin-less fish fillets  (fresh is best!)
  • 4 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 T freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 8 large green olives
  • small bottle of capers
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 egg whites, lightly beaten

MAKE AHEAD:  Prepare the packages and refrigerate for up to 1 day.  Bake before serving!!

Instructions:  (for cooking right away, if making ahead, follow all the directions unto baking!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Tear 4 pieces of parchment paper and place on a flat surface, each piece should be approx. 12 by 16 ins.).  Fold each piece in half crosswise and cut each piece like a large paper heart cutout.  Open the folded piece of parchment paper flat and place each fillet lengthwise just to the right of the fold.  On each fillet, sprinkle 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 1 T good olive oil. 1 T lemon juice, and 2 sprigs of thyme, place 2 olives alongside the fish and add 4 to 5 capers.IMG_0790IMG_0795Brush the edges of the entire parchment paper with the egg whites.  Fold the left side of the parchment paper over the right side so the edges line up, creating a packet.  Press the edges together to create a seal.  Starting at the edge at the top of the heart, make overlapping folds in the parchment, until you reach the “tail” of the heart.  Fold the last end underneath to seal the packet.  Place all the packets on a sheet pan, making sure the oil and lemon juice don’t run out when you transfer them.  Bake for 15 minutes exactly.  Place each packet on a dinner plate, cut an X in the middle with scissors, and serve hot, allowing each person to tear open the packet.

Seves 4





  • 2 T lemon-flavored olive oil, plus more if needed (if you do not have lemon-flavored olive oil, use regular olive oil and the zest of on lemon)
  • 2 C Israeli couscous
  • 1/3 C shelled unsalted roasted pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 12 dried Turkish apricots, chopped
  • 3 scallions, sliced
  • 2 1/4 C boiling water

Heat the oil in a fry pan over medium-high heat.  Add the couscous and pistachios and cook, stirring, until toasted and light golden, about 7 min.  On a larger pot, be heating 2 1/4 cups of water to boiling.  Add the couscous and pistachios to the boiling water.  Salt and pepper lightly.  Cover the pot, reduce heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until water is absorbed.

Remove the lid and stir in chopped apricots and scallions.  Taste, and adjust the salt and pepper to your preference.  Transfer the couscous to a serving bowl and serve warm with a little more lemon oil drizzled over the top.  (Garnish with a few sliced scallions, you can also place the couscous in a ramekin dish to form, and then turn it over on the plate, looks nice! (Optional).)

Note: can make this earlier in the day and leave covered with plastic wrap.  Heat for 3 to 4 minutes in microwave before serving!


  • 2 lb. of asparagus, trimmed to where it naturally folds
  • good olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 7 anchovy fillets
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 C panko
  • 1/4 lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 T chopped parsley

On a baking sheet, toss 2 pounds asparagus with 2 tbs. olive oil, season with salt and pepper.  Roast at 425 degrees for 15-20 mins. or until tender.  In a skillet, stir 1/2 C of olive oil with anchovies over moderate heat until the anchovies dissolve.  Add 2 minced garlic cloves, cook for 1 min.  Stir in 1 T of chopped parsley and 2 tsp. of lemon zest.  Transfer the asparagus to a platter.  Top with lemon juice and the panko.   *Adapted from recipe by Patty Beratis

Note:  Can cook entire dish earlier than schedule dinner (Max. 2 hrs.).  Place foil over finished  platter and set aside on counter.  About 1 hr. before dinner, place in warming tray, or 180 degree oven.  Top with lemon juice and the panko right before serving.IMG_1240

About Mary Moccia

Mother, wife, friend, but most of all Gram! Love learning the craft of cooking and food preparation and expanding my knowledge by using my palate and creativity!
This entry was posted in ENTREES and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to HERB-ROASTED FLORIDA FISH (full dinner menu) Israeli Couscous with Apricots, Roasted Asparagus

  1. Julies email says:

    Wow!! Looks great! Can’t wait to try it. Thanks. Julie

    Sent from Julie’s iPad

  2. Mitch Moccia says:

    Ready for a cooking magazine… Looks scrumptious!

  3. captmegan says:

    Omg looks wonderful. We will definitely try it.

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