Monday, November 14, 2011

CousCous... or Not?

I love couscous.  It's a great little side dish; just add it to some hot water, cover the pot for 5 minutes and voila!  It is fast, healthy, and a great vehicle for just about anything.  But that is "regular" couscous.

Israeli couscous, I had never made until last week.  And apparently it isn't really couscous at all.  It is actually a very small toasted pasta...similar to fregula or orzo.  Wow.  Thank you Wikipedia.

ANYWAY.  If you are tired of having the same old side dishes with dinner, this is a must try.  Very flavorful, lemony and fresh, it is also easy and quick to make.

Green Pea Couscous, adapted from Bobby Flay's Bar Americain Cookbook
1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon honey
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1 roasted red bell pepper, finely diced**
3 green onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

**You can buy roasted red peppers in a jar in the grocery store, or just brush one pepper with olive oil, season it with salt and pepper, then put it in a 400 F oven for about 35 minutes.  You will need to turn it a few times to char it on all sides.  Then just put the pepper in a small bowl covered with plastic wrap.  After about 15 minutes the skin will peel right off and you can just slice and de-seed it.  Very simple.

Okay, first bring about 2 quarts of salted water to a boil.  Add the couscous and cook for about 8 minutes.  Drain it in a colander and set it aside.

Once the couscous is done you can start the rest of the dish.  Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add the lemon zest, juice, and honey.  Stir it together for about 30 seconds.  Now you can add the rest of the ingredients!  Just stir them all in and give it a taste.  Add salt and pepper as needed.  Serve and Enjoy!

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