03 August 2011

Israeli Couscous with Charred Veg & Other Stuff

I'm so going to win Summer this year. Yesss.

It's paradise here. We're having lots of barbecues. The scenery is breathtaking...

...and a cute baby bunny is chewing on stuff outside my window. Does life get any better?

So I guess it's time for summer food. Yes!! Are you ready for this?! For some reason, it feels like all the rest of the year is a warm-up for glorious summer, where we pull out all the stops. We have more veg in the shops, more sunshine, tinier clothes, more work, more friends, more travelling, more parties... and we'd better balance it all. My favourite thing about summer is that it's kind of like getting to the Olympics. The Olympics of life.

Yeah, bring it, Summer! I'm gonna suck all the life right out of you! (Some of you might be discovering, at this very minute, that I have a competitive side. Sorry 'bout that.)

Take this to your barbecues, because while meat-wrapped-in-bread takes centre stage at these things, it really does need supporting acts. I've never had Israeli couscous before, but have long been entranced by its sheer size (say what you will about me for that, go ahead).

Um, anyway... it's also known as "pearl couscous" or, as I found it rather uncreatively labelled in my local deli, "giant couscous." I got very excited and started talking very quickly to my cheese-tasting companion, "OMG Israeli couscous, I've been looking for this for ages!" The cheesemonger behind the deli counter must have thought me strange, a weird American girl in Scotland freaking out over Israeli couscous.

Little does he know, that's kind of my "normal".

I decided to make it as I normally make couscous (the normal-sized kind), in a nice salad with sauteed veg, lots of fresh coriander, lemon juice, goats cheese and pistachios. It's a winner, for sure!

Israeli Couscous with Charred Veg & Other Stuff
original recipe by me!

100g (uncooked) Israeli couscous
veg stock
handful frozen broad beans
1 yellow pepper
1/2 yellow onion
1 small courgette
2 tablespoons olive oil

handful fresh coriander - chop stems finely, in addition to leaves
lemon juice - a good couple of squeezes from 1/2 a lemon
sea salt to taste (I used fleur de sel)
small handful pistachios
1/2 small log goats cheese

Get some stock boiling in a saucepan and add your couscous. Set your frozen broad beans in a sieve and place over top of boiling water, and cover with lid of saucepan. Let go for 10 minutes or so until couscous is cooked. Run beans under cold water and set aside for shelling. Drain in a sieve (the same sieve, even) or fine colander and set aside to cool down.

Meanwhile, chop up the pepper and onion and sauté them in olive oil over medium-ish heat. After they've softened a little, turn up the heat some and add chopped courgette to the pan. Don't stir too frequently or they won't char properly.

While that's going, shell your broad beans into a large bowl. Add couscous to the broad beans. When the veg is finished, add that in as well and let cool for a little while, maybe 20 minutes.

In the mean time, chop up your coriander. The stems should be chopped really finely but the leaves can be a bit bigger if you like. Chop pistachios as well.

When everything's cooled, add coriander and pistachios to the big salad bowl and give it a good mix. Squeeze in the lemon juice and add salt to taste. Just before serving, add crumbled goats cheese.

The end! Mmm, delicious!

Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side.

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