Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Pearl Couscous Feta Salad

The first time I saw pearl couscous, I clearly realized how the name was derived. When cooked, they are small white, round pearly treasures. They are big enough to have a "bite" to them, but small enough to pick up a big spoonful. Served hot or cold they are a perfect foil to a multitude of spices. My new favorite way is adapted from a salad that I get in London. I found that I was consistently craving this and of course, had to come back home and duplicate it. I added a few ingredients of my own to round it out. I eat it as a main course although it would really perk up grilled chicken as a side dish.

Pearl Couscous Feta Salad

1 1/2 cups pearl couscous*
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 3/4 cups water

1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons chili oil

1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 tablespoon mint
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup shallots, diced
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 large tangerine
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds or dried cranberries

2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

*Pearl, or sometimes called Israeli couscous can be found in the international or grain section of the grocery store. I was thrilled to see that Trader Joe's and Whole Foods also carries it. If you can't find it, then use smaller couscous and still saute it but after adding water (amount according to package directions), do not boil. Just cover until water is absorbed.Heat olive oil in a skillet and saute couscous over medium heat until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Slowly add 1 3/4 cups boiling water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Simmer for 12 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Put into a medium bowl.Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and chili oil and pour over couscous. Add chickpeas, mint, cilantro, shallots, mustard seed, salt and cayenne pepper, and stir thoroughly. Peel tangerine, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces with the membranes removed. Add tangerine, pomegranate seeds (or dried cranberries), and feta cheese. Gently toss and serve room temperature or chilled.
Makes 2 main course, or 4 side servings.

Written and photographed by Diane

Download recipe (pdf)

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Deb said...

This salad looks delicious! When are you serving it? I'll be right over!
The pictures are fantastic!I feel like I am right there looking at these wonderful meals!!!

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