Harissa-spiced halibut with couscous

Mark Sargeant marinates halibut fillets in a hot and fragrant Moroccan spice paste then serves them up with a summery couscous
By Mark Sargeant
Harissa-spiced halibut with couscous
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus ? for marinating
  • Effort: medium


For the halibut

  • 1 tbsp harissa
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 150 g natural yogurt
  • 4 x 150 g halibut fillets, skinned
  • 1-2 tbsp vegetable oil

For herb couscous

  • 250 g couscous
  • 300 ml chicken or vegetable stock, boiling
  • 1 tbsp harissa
  • 2-3 tbsp ready-made vinaigrette
  • 1 large handful parsley, leaves chopped
  • 1 large handful mint, leaves chopped
  • 1 small handful coriander, leaves chopped

For the cucumber salad

  • 2 cucumber, peeled
  • 1 handfuls mint leaves, chopped
  • squeeze of lime juice


1. For the halibut: mix the harissa with the olive oil and sugar. Add all but 3-4 tbsp of the yogurt and stir well. Coat the halibut fillets with the spiced yogurt mixture and set aside for 10 minutes. (The fish could be kept overnight in the fridge for a more intense flavour.)

2. For the couscous: measure the couscous into a large bowl then pour over the stock and stir in the harissa. Cover with cling film and leave to soak for 10-15 minutes.

3. Remove the cling film then fluff up the couscous with a fork to separate the grains. Stir in the vinaigrette and herbs and season.

4. For the cucumber salad: using a swivel vegetable peeler, slice the cucumbers lengthways into long wide strips, avoiding the seeds in the middle. Mix with the reserved yogurt and the chopped mint and lime juice to taste.

5. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6.

6. Heat the vegetable oil in an ovenproof pan over a medium-high heat. Scrape off and reserve the excess marinade from the halibut and put the fillets in the pan. Sear for about 1-1½ minutes on each side until golden-brown. Spoon the reserved marinade over the fish then transfer the pan to the oven for a few minutes to finish cooking the fish.

7. Serve the halibut fillets on warm plates drizzled with the pan juices, with the couscous and cucumber salad.

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