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Mediterranean-inspired dishes, like these pearls of seafood, combine versatile, delicious flavours with heart-healthy eating.

Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail

Part of the reason I love this dish is its versatility. Mix up your fish selection by using halibut, black cod or even salmon, add shrimps or take out the squid – it all tastes wonderful. You can also replace the fish with cubed chicken breasts, if you prefer. Cut the fennel, pepper and zucchini into a small dice so they look attractive in the finished dish. If you are not strictly following the Mediterranean way of eating, then include 3 ounces of chorizo sausage for flavouring.

Servings: 4

Ready time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

3 tbsp olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped carrot

1 tbsp chopped garlic

1 cup diced fennel

1/2 red pepper, diced

1 cup diced zucchini

1 cup pearl (Israeli) couscous

1/2 cups chicken stock

1 cup canned tomatoes, chopped in juice

1/2 tsp chili flakes

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup fresh peas

500 g mussels (about 12)

250 g clams (about 16)

175 g squid, cut into 1/2-inch rings

2 tbsp chopped parsley

Method

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and garlic. Sauté until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add fennel and pepper and sauté for another 2 minutes, or until just tender.

Add zucchini and pearl couscous. Cook until zucchini is slightly softened and couscous is toasted, about 2 minutes. Pour in stock and tomatoes. Season with chili flakes, salt and pepper.

Simmer for 3 minutes, or until the couscous begins to absorb the liquid. Stir in peas. Add all of the seafood and cover skillet. Cook for 5 minutes, or until seafood is just cooked, mussels and clams are open and couscous is tender. Add additional stock if needed. Garnish with parsley and serve at once.

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