Warm Weather Favorite 2010
Every season, we seem to fixate on a new recipe that becomes an immediate staple at our house. One fall, it was a garlic winter squash soup; one summer it was gazpacho; other times, it’s a particular salad. We tweak it until it suits our palates, and then make it over and over again.
With the early arrival of warm weather to New England, this year’s recipe looks like it will be a new salad I created. I’ve already made two batches since Friday, so I think it’s here to stay, at least for through the summer.
It started with that continuously unsuccessful goal of using up ingredients in the pantry. Some items turn over frequently, but others languish indefinitely. A jar of Israeli couscous that was pushed to the back of the shelf suffered in the neglected state. If you’re not familiar with Israeli couscous, it’s bigger than regular couscous, bigger round pasta grains, similar to pastina, smaller than barley. In the past, I have found it at Trader Joe’s, but after using it up, I found more in the bulk bins at Whole Foods.
A salad seemed like the perfect thing to welcome the warm weather. I made a sort of tabouli, using other treasures from the refrigerator.
It was an instant hit, going well with hamburgers, grilled salmon, and grilled chicken, all of which we’ve eaten since the first batch on Friday. It would also be good on its own.
Israeli Couscous Tabouli
1½ cups water
1 cup Israeli couscous
2 Tbsp lemon juice (Meyer lemon, if it’s in season)
3 Tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
1 lb tomatoes, diced
½ cucumber, peeled, and diced
2 scallions, sliced thin
½ cup Kalamata olives, quartered lengthwise
Generous handfuls of Italian parsley and cilantro, chopped
Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the Israeli couscous and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, until couscous is cooked through. Fluff with a fork.
For the dressing, whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil with salt and pepper to taste.
Combine cooked couscous with the remaining ingredients and toss with the dressing.