Sunday, March 04, 2007
Couscous and Chile Salad
On my weekly trips to the bookstore, I am always checking out the bargain book table for marked down cookbooks as I love looking at the photos of food dishes, taking in what props are used, how the photos are styled, lighted and composed getting inspiration for future projects. One cookbook I bought several months ago entitled "Red Hot! A Cook's Encyclopedia of Fire and Spice" appealed to me in many ways. I love hot and spicy food, red and green peppers graced the cover and "encyclopedia" surely meant there was a plethora of recipes covering every hot country in the world. I couldn't wait to try the recipes!
Despite my enthusiasm over the cookbook, it went the way of many of the cookbooks and magazines I buy on a whim-relegated to a pile of other books waiting for time to peruse through them. A few days ago, the book caught my eye again and I began thumbing through the recipes for salads to enter into Weekend Cookbook Challenge created by Sara of I Like to Cook and hosted by Tami of Running with Tweezers. There wasn't much time so I had to get busy with deciding on what to make for the event.
Couscous and Chile Salad is a spicy variation of a classic Tabbouleh, traditionally made with bulgur wheat and not couscous. I added a red jalapeno pepper to the ingredients to spice the dish up a little more.
45ml/3 tbsp olive oil
5 spring onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
5ml/1 tsp ground cumin
350ml/12 fl.oz/1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
175gm/6 oz/1 cup couscous
2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
60ml/4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
60ml/4 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 fresh green chile, seeded and finely chopped
1 red jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
30ml/2 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Crisp lettuce leaves, to serve
Toasted pine nuts and grated lemon rind or zest, to garnish
Heat oil in a pan. Add the onions and garlic. Stir in the cumin and cook over medium heat for 1 minute. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Remove pan from heat, stir in the couscous, cover the pan tightly and leave to stand for 10 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed.
Place the couscous into a bowl. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, mint chiles and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let stand covered for 1 hour for the flavors to meld.
To serve, line a bowl with the lettuce leaves and spoon the couscous salad in the center. Sprinkle toasted pine nuts and lemon rind over, to garnish.
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