It’s early June but feels like August. That’s good and not good. Good because we can go to the beach already and the water is warm enough for a swim. Good because all of the summer fruits are in full swing and they’re delicious this year including watermelon, corn, peaches, early apricots, early tomatoes, plums, nectarines, sugar snap peas, zucchini, summer squash, chiles, eggplants.
We’re cooking and eating all the summer things. Good because school is out and the traffic is lighter. Good because days are long and seem to linger. Good because it’s time to go barefoot without a sweater. Good because the Hollywood Bowl is super nice on a balmy summer night. Good because it’s baseball season which makes me think about my Dad – this is the Dodger’s first season without him. It’s bad (feeling like August in early June) because it means the world is heating up and all the horrors from Global Warming are really happening. That’s a big bad.
Back to food. Summer food. We have been doing a lot of grilling. Lots of fish and corn. A dear friend of mine – Julia Gandelsman – suggested that I try making Green Couscous from Ottolenghi’s Plenty as a side dish for a dinner party I had. I made it.
It’s really good.
A bit more labor intensive than I would usually like and kind of curiously quite good for the effort. I recommend it as a perfect summer side. It’s green. It’s very herby. It’s got a kick from a jalapeno. Vegetarians love it. It makes the table look pretty and colorful.
(- Yotam Ottolenghi)
1 cup couscous
¾ cup boiling water or vegetable stock
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground cumin
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp chopped tarragon
2 Tbsp chopped dill
2 Tbsp chopped mint
6 Tbsp olive oil
½ cup unsalted pistachios, toasted and roughly chopped
3 green onions, finely sliced
1 fresh chile, finely sliced
1 ¼ cup arugula leaves, chopped
Place the couscous in a large bowl and cover with the boiling water or stock. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, fry the onion in the olive oil on medium heat until golden and completely soft. Add the salt and cumin and mix well. Leave to cool slightly.
To make the herb paste. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth.
Add the herb paste to the couscous and mix everything together well with a fork to fluff it up. Now add the cooked onion, the pistachios, green onions, green chile and arugula and gently mix. Serve at room temperature.