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Change of Seasons: Grilled Tilapia Packets with Tomato Arugula Cous Cous

I always tell people that there are two seasons in Florida: 1) summer; and 2) Oh, My God, It’s Hot! We have definitely transitioned into the second season around here. I mean, when the overnight low only gets to 85 degrees, it’s definitely time to find a way to make dinner without turning on the oven.

I’ve never been a big ‘cold dinner’ guy. It’s a psychological thing: salads and sandwiches are lunch food, not dinner food (and if anyone tells you that I have other psychological issues, don’t believe them – they’re crazy). But I have no issues with eating light for dinner, as long as it’s hot.

I had some leftover ingredients from my Buitoni pasta tasting that I needed to use up – a sliced sweet potato, some onion, and a couple of tomatoes that I couldn’t figure out what to do with. There wasn’t enough to use them separately, so I decided to throw them together.

Fish in parchment is a great, light meal that takes a small amount of any ingredient to assemble. But like I said, there is no way I was turning on the oven, it’s OMGIH Season. So I decided to switch out the parchment for foil and throw the dinner on the grill (besides, I’ve yet to find the end to my bedeviled propane tank). And this is the only way I’ve ever figured out to cook tilapia on the grill without leaving half of it behind.

To get some extra mileage out of the tomatoes (and to cut down on the amount of liquid in the fish), I decided to scoop out the interior of the tomatoes. I sliced up the flesh for the tilapia packets and pulverized the guts to add to some cous cous.

The packets are easy to assemble and can be done ahead. Just make sure you crimp the ends and keep them seam-side up so the juices don’t run out (I usually start layering with the firmer vegetables on the bottom so they get the most direct heat). Grill it on indirect heat for 20 minutes or so, and it’s done. (My grill has 4 burners, so I preheat zones 1 and 3, then place the tilapia packets on zones 2 and 4.) The added bonus is that you don’t have to tend it. I mean, if I’m cooking outside because it’s too hot to turn the oven on, then I sure as heck do not want to be standing out there in the sun over a hot grill.

As for the cous cous, it takes about 7 minutes. I do eat salad as an accompaniment to dinner, just not as the main course, so I thought I’d combine the salad and starch into a single dish by throwing not only the tomato into the cous cous, but some arugula as well. (I guess that would be considered ‘eating my words’, huh?)

So there it is: a light, hot dinner that heats up the house just as much as a wimpy dinner salad, perfect for this time of year. But I have to be honest, I’d rather put up with Oh, my God, It’s Hot, instead of dealing with Holy Crap, Is It Cold!

Grilled Tilapia Packets with Tomato Arugula Cous Cous


A quick and lazy dinner for any season

GrilledTilapia Packets

  • 4 pieces of aluminum foil (about 12” x 12”)
  • 4 tilapia fillets (about 4 oz. each)
  • 1 medium sweet potato (peeled and sliced thin)
  • ½ of a medium onion (sliced thin)
  • 1 to matoes (seeded, and sliced into strips)
  • ½ C black olives (chopped)
  • 4 t olive oil
  • 4 T chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Tomato and Arugula Cous Cous

  • 1 small shallot
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 T olive oil
  • ½ C tomato pulp
  • ½ C water
  • 1 C cous cous
  • 2 T chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 C fresh arugula

Grilled Tilapia Packets

  1. Preheat grill to medium heat.
  2. In the middle of a sheet of foil, place ¼ of the sweet potato slices in a single layer.
  3. On top of that add about ¼ of the sliced onions.
  4. Place a tilapia fillet on top of the onions.
  5. On top of the tilapia, add ¼ of the tomato slices, ¼ of the chopped olives.
  6. Salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Drizzle with one teaspoon of olive oil and sprinkle one tablespoon of chopped parsley over the top.
  8. Pull two sides of the aluminum foil up and fold them over repeatedly to create a seal.
  9. Fold up the two ends of the foil and be sure to seal well.
  10. Repeat with the other three sheets of oil and tilapia.
  11. Place foil packets, seam side up, over indirect heat on the grill.
  12. Grill for about 20 minutes or until tilapia turns opaque and sweet potatoes are tender.

Tomato and Arugula Cous Cous

  1. While tilapia packets cook, preheat a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add olive oil, shallot, and red pepper flakes, sauté for 2-3 minutes, until shallots are translucent.
  3. Add tomato pulp, water, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in cous cous.
  4. Add arugula on top.
  5. Cover with a lid and let steep for about 5 minutes.
  6. Remove lid and stir arugula into cous cous.

this post is reblogged from myearlier site, ‘Inexpensive Eating’