Recipes

Couscous with tomatoes and fresh tuna tastes like summer

Steamed couscous, grilled fresh tuna and a basil-laced tomato salad come together in an easy summer recipe.
Steamed couscous, grilled fresh tuna and a basil-laced tomato salad come together in an easy summer recipe. Chicago Tribune

No quinoa. Papa doesn’t like quinoa. He doesn’t like it, he explained, and he’s never tried it.

“It’s like couscous,” protested Hannah.

“If it were like couscous,” Papa explained, “I’d like it.”

Hannah, collegiate savvy, said Papa should try quinoa while listening to “Hamilton.” Papa doesn’t like “Hamilton.” He hasn’t seen it; he’s “not for” all that rapid-fire rap.

He has a better idea: “Fiddler on the Roof.” “Have you seen it?” he asks Hannah. In high school, she played Fruma Sarah. “Well,” he announces, “then you haven’t seen it!”

It’s settled. He’ll take her to “Fiddler.” She’ll download him “Hamilton.”

Then grandfather and granddaughter will go out. No quinoa. Maybe couscous.

SUMMER COUSCOUS

Prep: 30 minutes; cook: 8 minutes; makes: 4 servings

For tomatoes:

1 1/2 cups diced fresh tomatoes

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

For couscous:

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and pepper

1 cup water

1 cup couscous

For tuna:

1 boneless skinless tuna steak (1 1/4 pounds), about 1-inch thick, see note below

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

Salt and pepper

Toss: Heap all tomato ingredients in a large bowl. Toss. Cover. Let rest.

Steam: To make couscous, heat oil in a small saucepan. Add onion, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until onion wilts, about 4 minutes. Add water; bring to a boil. Pour in couscous. Stir once, cover, pull pan off heat. Let stand, 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork.

Season: Brush tuna with oil. Season with thyme, salt and pepper.

Grill: Spark a hot fire, or heat the oven broiler. Grill tuna directly over medium-hot flames or broil 6 inches under the boiler until just done, about 4 minutes per side. Pull tuna off heat and cut into bite-size pieces.

Serve: Tumble couscous and tuna over tomatoes. Toss. Enjoy.

Note: Yes, you can skip grilling the tuna and simply crumble into the finished dish two 5-ounce cans of tuna packed in oil and the thyme leaves. It’s a different dish — also delicious.

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