Grilled Cilantro-Lime Scallops with Zucchini and Couscous
Aleppo pepper, also known as a Halaby pepper, is named after a city in northern Syria that is famous for its chiles. These pepper flakes have a mild, almost tangy flavor and are about half as spicy as most chile flakes. Combined with lime, cilantro and garlic, the Aleppo pepper really shines slathered over scallops and zucchini before they are grilled. The bright, herby, tangy sauce for this recipe acts as a marinade for the scallops and vegetables, a dressing for the couscous and a finishing sauce.
Eight 10-inch skewers, soaked in cold water for 15 minutes if wooden
Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium-high.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the couscous and cook, stirring a few times, until starting to turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add the red bell pepper and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the couscous is softened, and the liquid has been absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the cilantro, lime juice, garlic, Aleppo pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, a few grinds of black pepper and the remaining 2/3 cup olive oil to a food processor and process until smooth and vibrant green. Reserve 1/3 cup and pour the rest into a large bowl.
Add the zucchini and the yellow squash to the bowl and toss to coat with the sauce. Thread 7 to 8 pieces, alternating between zucchini and yellow squash, onto each of 4 skewers, threading them so the slices will lay flat on the grill. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add the scallops to the bowl and toss with the marinade. Set aside while you grill the vegetables.
Grill the vegetables until grill marks appear on the underside and the vegetables begin to soften, 6 to 7 minutes. Flip and grill until the vegetables are cooked through, 6 to 7 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, thread 4 scallops each onto 4 skewers so that the scallops lay flat. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Grill until caramelized on one side, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook until the scallops are just firm to touch and opaque in the center, 2 to 3 minutes.
Stir 3 tablespoons of the reserved cilantro-lime sauce into the couscous and spoon the couscous onto a platter. Place the vegetable and scallop skewers on top and garnish with lime zest and Aleppo pepper. Serve with the remaining cilantro-lime sauce on the side.