My latest addiction in the kitchen is pearl couscous, also known as Israeli couscous. Pearl couscous is larger than the regular kind and maintains its shape and texture better. It acts much more like pasta and is very versatile.
It’s a bit hard to find but check your international and pasta sections. Here in Brussels, I’ve managed to pick it up at Match and once at AH but it’s pretty hit or miss.
I’ve made a couple of variations of this summer salad and I’m in love. You can add or switch ingredients as you see fit but here is my starting recipe.
- Heat a tbsp of olive oil in a pan and add 1 ½ cups of pearl couscous and toast until golden (aprox. 5 mins).
- Add 1 ¾ cups of water and bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until the water is absorbed and the couscous is al dente. When your couscous is cooked put it in a large bowl.
- While your couscous is cooking make a dressing of ½ cup olive oil and ½ cup vinegar, (I used a white balsamic and it was delish but regular balsamic or white wine vinegars will also work nicely). Add a tbsp of lemon juice (or lime if you prefer) and if you like thinks spicy add a tsp or two of chilli oil. Whisk it all together.
- Now is the creative part. The sky is really the limit in terms of what you can add for herbs, spices and other flavours but here’s what I added:
- A small handful of chopped mint
- A large bunch of chopped cilantro
- A small bunch of chopped chives
- A peeled and chopped orange
- 2 finely chopped shallots
- Salt and pepper to taste
Give it all a good gentle mix and serve at room temperature. It’s also good cold the next day.
The first time I made this I also added some crumbled feta which was very nice. Some other things you could add or substitute: toasted pine nuts, chickpeas, dried fruit, blue cheese.
Have fun! If you make it let me know what you put in it.