Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cupboard Cleanout: curried couscous salad

This is one of a series of Cupboard Cleanout posts dedicated to using up those odds and ends we all have laying about the pantry. It's a pantry liquidation saleeverything must go!

Perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself. Perhaps it's too early to be thinking about picnics, and frisbee, and lazy days spent in the grass.

But it's six thirty in the evening, and it is still! light! outside! And it makes me think that those sun-drenched days of lemonade on the porch are not far off.

This modest little salad, inspired by a couscous dish I ate at work (of all places), would be a perfect side dish for a picnic, paired with some cold chicken or chickpeas with feta. This dish begs to be eaten outdoors— on the grass in your backyard, or at the park, or on your patio, or even, barring any access to greenery, on the stone steps in front of your apartment building.

Curried Couscous Salad
Serves 4

1 cup small couscous½ cup thinly sliced scallions, green parts only¼ cup dried currants (substitute raisins or golden raisins)1 tablespoon lemon juice4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon curry powder¾ teaspoon salt½ teaspoon cinnamonDash of turmericToasted slivered almonds or pine nuts, optional

1. Boil 1¾ cups of water in a saucepan.
2. Combine couscous, scallions, and currants in a medium bowl. When the water begins to boil, pour it over the couscous. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap; let sit 5 minutes.
3. Combine lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and spices, and stir to mix.
4. When the couscous has absorbed all water, add the oil and spice mixture and mix well. The couscous should turn a shade of dusky yellow.
5. Top each serving with toasted nuts and additional sliced scallions.

To toast pine nuts or slivered almonds, toss a handful into a small pan and toast over medium heat. Shake the pan frequently and be vigilant, since the nuts can turn black quickly if you look away. The nuts are done when golden brown and fragrant.

1 comment:

  1. Nothing makes me happier than pantry posts, and this looks like a mighty tasty one! This is definitely being made this week, but I think I might do it with quinoa instead of cous cous.:-)