Pearl couscous salad spiked with greens

Pearl couscous salad spiked with greens

An easy side dish inspired by a friend's last minute picnic addition. It possibly tastes even better the day after, once the couscous has slurped up the vinaigrette. Put a fried egg on top and call it 'breakfast'. Or – halloumi, feta, goat's cheese...

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pearl cous cous
  • 1-ish courgettes, mandolined (or shave using a veg peeler)
  • pitted green olives (Castelvetrano would be my first choice; clearly didn't have that luxury when I snapped my meal)
  • spring onions, sliced
  • loads of parsley and mint, chopped
  • lemon juice and zest to taste

Method:

  1. Lightly toast couscous with a little olive oil in a pan over a low heat. This brings out the 'nutty flavour'. A phrase beautifully uttered by Yotam Ottolenghi, my culinary-maximalist hero
  2. Meanwhile, bring 1.5 cups of salted water to the boil
  3. Pour couscous into salted boiling water and cook for about 10 minutes
  4. Remove from heat and let cool 
  5. If you have one handy, mandolin courgette lengthways. Otherwise, test your slicing skills or use a veg peeler.
  6. Place in a bowl and drizzle with a good amount white wine vinegar (this will form the basis of your dressing), salt, a sprinkling of sugar and half a clove of grated garlic. Now, massage. Leave to soak and drain before combining with couscous.
  7. Slice spring onions; roughly chop mint, parsley. Dill would be nice too, but have fun keeping a bunch alive longer than one mealtime. 
  8. Combine cooled couscous with all your greenery. Season to taste, adding more vinegar, a big glug of good quality extra-virgin olive oil, lemon zest and a squeeze of juice. Too tart? Add my salad go-to maple syrup.

 

Hail Caesar

Hail Caesar

Pasta alla Norma under olives trees in Sicily

Pasta alla Norma under olives trees in Sicily