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Fragrant lemon barley couscous with mullet in vine leaves

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for fragrant lemon barley couscous with mullet in vine leaves.

By Lisa Featherby
  • 25 mins preparation
  • 15 mins cooking plus cooling
  • Serves 6
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Fragrant lemon barley couscous with mullet in vine leaves
Is it a grain or isn't it? Well, technically it isn't. Couscous is made from a grain, in this case from barley, which is milled to flour and shaped into grains.


  • 300 gm barley couscous (see note)
  • 2½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, finely grated rind and juice only
  • 1 spring onion bulb, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 10 red mullet (about 170gm each)
  • 100 gm golden raisins
  • 100 gm pine nuts, roasted, coarsely chopped
  • 10 vine leaves in brine, rinsed, dried
  • To serve: lemon wedges and green salad


  • 1
    Combine couscous and 2 tsp oil in a heatproof bowl. Rub with fingertips to coat couscous evenly with oil. Pour over enough boiling water to cover by about 8mm. Stir with a fork, cover bowl with a tea towel and stand until water is absorbed (5-10 minutes). Fluff with a fork, add rind and juice, spring onion, parsley and 3 tsp oil. Season to taste, refrigerate until required.
  • 2
    Preheat a char-grill over high heat. Using kitchen scissors, remove dorsal fin from mullet and discard. Fillet by removing bones from the belly cavity to the backbone and pulling out, keeping head and tail attached to fillets. Flatten out fillets, then pin-bone using tweezers. Scatter raisins and pine nuts over mullet, season to taste. Enclose mullet, wrap in vine leaves, drizzle with remaining oil and grill until golden and cooked through (2-3 minutes each side). Serve with couscous, lemon wedges and a green salad.


Note Barley couscous, available from Simon Johnson, is made from barley flour, but you can substitute any couscous.
Drink Suggestion: A bone-dry, chalky young Hunter semillon. Drink suggestion by Max Allen

  • Author: Lisa Featherby