Middle Eastern Couscous SaladMiddle Eastern couscous is not the common small-grained couscous with which most of us are familiar. This is a larger toasted variety that swells to the size of tiny peas. The texture is far more interesting than regular couscous. Leftover salad is particularly good for lunch the next day.
1/2 cup sweet port or Madeira
1 cup Black Mission figs, cut into quarters (available at GW)
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 large Spanish onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, finely diced (optional)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp saffron threads, pounded into a powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cardamon
5 cups chicken stock
3 cups toasted Middle Eastern couscous (try our own GW brand)
2 large red bell peppers, roasted and diced or 14oz can or jar
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
to taste sea salt
to taste freshly ground black pepper
1 cup natural pistachios, toasted and chopped
Heat port or Madeira in a small pot, add the figs and simmer for about 5 minutes or until most of the port is absorbed. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan and add the onion, garlic and jalapeno if using. Saute until the onion is golden brown. Add the cinnamon, saffron, cumin and cardamon and continue to cook for another minute.
Bring the chicken stock to a boil, add the couscous and saffron, let it simmer for about 5 minutes or until all of the stock is absorbed. Stir in the onion spice mixture, diced peppers, marinated figs and port. Fold in the fresh herbs and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Turn onto a decorative serving platter and garnish with toasted pistachios.
Copyright © Caren McSherry 2002