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Za’atar Spiced Wild Alaska Pollock and Israeli Couscous

Za’atar Spiced Wild Alaska Pollock and Israeli Couscous
This meal is perfect for mid to late summer because the pasta salad can be made in advance and kept at room temperature.
  • Prep Time: 10 min, not including butter chill time or couscous cooling time
  • Cook Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 60 min
  • Servings: 4
  • Yield: 4 (6 oz each) fillets, 6 cups couscous salad


  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 Tbsp. Za’atar
  • 6 Tbsp. butter, softened
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup Israeli couscous or pearl pasta (sub white or brown rice for gluten-free)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 12 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 medium cucumber or about 8 oz. by weight, half peeled and then diced
  • 5 sprigs mint, leaves picked and torn into small pieces
  • 5 sprigs basil, leaves picked and torn into small pieces
  • 10 sprigs parsley, roughly chopped
  • 4 (6 oz.) Alaska pollock fillets
Recipe courtesy of Chef Abra Berens


  1. Step 1 Prepare Za’atar butter

    In a bowl, combine the butter, lemon zest, Za’atar, and salt. Beat with a spoon until well combined. Taste, adding more salt if desired. Transfer to a container or roll into a log with plastic wrap and chill at least 20 minutes.

  2. Step 2  Prepare couscous

    Bring a medium pot of heavily salted water to a boil.Boil the couscous until tender (about 7 minutes) and then drain away the water. Immediately dress the couscous with the olive oil and set aside to cool to room temperature. Once cool, add the tomatoes, cucumbers, lemon juice, and herbs and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

  3. Step 3 Prepare pollock

    Blot the pollock fillets dry with a paper towel and then season with a big pinch of salt. In a medium frying pan, heat a glug of neutral oil until almost smoking hot. Place the fish either skin side down or white side down if using skin off. Gently press the fish to make good contact with the pan. Pan fry the fish until the fish develops a good crust and can be moved easily when nudged with a spatula (about 5 minutes). If it doesn’t move, let it sear longer.

    When it is able to be moved easily, flip the fish and sear the other side until the fish is cooked through (about 3 minutes). Remove from the heat.

  4. Step 4 To serve

    Transfer the couscous salad to plates or a serving platter. Nestle fish into the salad and top with 1-2 tablespoons of the Za’atar butter either as a dollop or cut into coins. Optional: for a dairy fix, add crumbled feta.

Recipe courtesy of Chef Abra Berens