Fish and Couscous Stuffed Mediterranean Cabbage Rolls

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READY IN: 1hr 40mins
Recipe by SarasotaCook

An interesting twist on stuffed cabbage rolls which I happen to love. Last year on vacation, it was the last day and trying to use up all our food; a box of couscous, tilapia, cabbage, and a few pantry items, and the dish was born. Now I have refined it a bit, but over all, this was it. It turned out so good, I make it all the time. Tender white fish, couscous, Mediterranean flavors and vegetables wrapped in cabbage with a rich artichoke and tomato sauce. Just like any cabbage rolls, it takes a little bit of work to wrap them all up, but 30 minutes baked in the oven and they are perfect. Serve with a creamy potato and parsnip soup to start off dinner, and crunchy bread to go along with the cabbage rolls and you have a great Sunday dinner.

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Homemade Greek Seasoning -- You can make a batch of this up and put in a small spice jar. Once you try this, you will always keep some on hand.: 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried mint, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, 1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion, 1/4 teaspoon dried minced garlic. Options, you can add some lemon pepper, or marjoram, but that is my favorite combination that I use.
  2. Cabbage -- In a large pot, bring salted water up to a boil and add the cabbage. Blanch, or cook the cabbage just until the leaves are tender or no longer stiff and easy to work work. It should take about 3-4 minutes. Now don't get rid of that water, just turn it off for now. Once the cabbage is cool enough to handle remove the outer leaves, the ones that are soft and no longer stiff. As you get in to the smaller leaves they will be stiffer, so heat up the water to a boil and put the cabbage back in to finish blanching the remaining cabbage, just another 2-3 minutes. Once cool, take off the leaves.
  3. Set all the leaves off to the side to cool. And don't worry if they are all different sizes, that is just the way stuffed cabbage is. Each stuffed leaf will be a bit different.
  4. NOTE: Don't throw that water out yet. We use it one more time.
  5. Fish -- Now you can use a variety of methods, but since you already have hot boiling water from the cabbage, why get rid of it. I simply put a steamer basket (or you can use a colander or even a strainer; I have even used a small grate) over the top, cut my fish fillets into 3" pieces, easier to work with, and add to the steamer basket. Put a lid or foil over the top and just cooked until slightly tender, but not too long. Usually 4-5 minutes is all you need. Remove and let cool.
  6. Couscous -- Now you can use your favorite brand. Simply follow the directions on the package. My method is to bring a bowl of water up to a boil in the microwave. Remove, add the couscous, cover with plastic wrap and you are done. You want approximately 1 1/2 cups cooked couscous, a little more or less is fine. Just set to the side.
  7. Vegetable Filling -- In a medium saute pan, heat to medium high and add the olive oil. Add the peppers, onion, celery, and garlic and cook 3-4 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften and the onion gets opaque. Then add in the scallions, parsley, Greek seasoning and olives and just stir to combine all the flavors. Remove to the side.
  8. Fish filling -- Take you fish and use your fork to flake the fish. I just roughly flake it, it will fall apart as you mix it with the other ingredients. To the couscous, just remove the plastic wrap or fork to "fluff up." Then add the fish, sauteed vegetables, lemon juice and zest, and the egg to the couscous. Mix well. Your filling is done.
  9. Sauce -- The sauce can simmer as you roll your cabbage leaves. In a medium to large pot bring to medium heat and add the olive oil and then the onions and garlic. Cook for just 2-3 minutes until the onions begin to soften. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and then add in the tomatoes and Greek seasoning. Stir well and then add in the artichoke hearts. Just reduce the heat to low and let it simmer.
  10. Rolls -- Now the fun part. Lay out the cabbage leaves and put a good spoon of the couscous mixture to the center of the leaf. I fold one end over (the smaller end), then tuck in the 2 sides, and finish rolling. Just like you would make a sandwich wrap. Secure with a toothpick and you are done.
  11. If you have any filling left, don't throw it out. Save it and reinvent it. Add some feta cheese and fresh tomatoes and serve as a cold salad over a bed of lettuce or stuff in a tomato for a quick healthy lunch or dinner.
  12. Casserole -- I like to bake mine in a large casserole dish, I add all the cabbage leaves and then top with the simmered tomato and artichoke sauce. In a 350 degree oven, cover and bake 30-40 minutes until the cabbage is very tender and all the filling reheats.
  13. Serve -- Make sure to serve 2-3 leaves per person and top with extra tomato sauce and the black olives as a garnish. Some crusty bread and you have a great dinner. I love to start with a bowl of creamy potato soup, I made earlier, so just reheat. It makes a nice Sunday Comfort Food Meal for a cold chilly day.

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