From one of the latest issues of Food and Wine magazine, this recipe was the only bright spot on a day in which everything that could go wrong (in the lab) went wrong. But, as we were driving through intense Los Angeles traffic that Thursday, I knew that getting home and making dinner would improve my mood. It always does, actually. Especially if I already have it all planned and laid out in my mind, which was the case that day.
COUSCOUS SALAD WITH ZUCCHINI AND PINE NUTS
(adapted from Food and Wine, May 2011)
1 cup diced zucchini
2 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper
1 cup couscous
1 cup boiling water
3/4 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup water
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
fresh mint and parsley, minced
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet and sautee the zucchini until golden. Season lightly with salt and pepper. You can prepare it in advance and keep it in the fridge.
Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the couscous in the bowl you intend to serve the salad. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes as you prepare the rest of the recipe.
Boil the peas for 2 minutes, drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the water. Add the lemon juice and olive oil, a little salt, to the reserved pea water, and whisk well. Fluff the couscous with a fork, pour this dressing over it, mixing it well. Gently mix in the cooked peas, reserved zucchini, toasted pine nuts, and fresh herbs. Taste, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, and serve.
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Comments: Next time, I will dice the zucchini in slightly larger pieces, because I’d like their presence in the salad to be a little more obvious, not only visually, but also in texture. I love the popcorn-y taste of pine nuts, but you can use almonds (as in the original Food and Wine version), or walnuts. Make sure to toast them first.
It is crucial to let the zucchini get some color, so I like to leave it undisturbed in the sautee pan for a couple of minutes, before moving the pieces around.
This could be a nice vegetarian entree, as couscous is very filling, but we enjoyed it next to a juicy, grilled chicken breast. And that was a perfect antidote for the “lab-blues.” 😉
ONE YEAR AGO: A Simple Salad a la Jacques Pepin