About 3 months ago I included this recipe in a Summer Salads cooking class when, appropriately enough, it was still summer. Much of the U.S. is still experiencing proper summer, but London definitely feels like fall. There’s a nip in the air, blustery winds and the true death knell of summer: we’ve turned the heat on at night.
But back to summer salads. Unlike some of the more traditionally seasonal salads (think spring greens with a light vinaigrette, watermelon & feta salad) this couscous salad is for all the seasons (is “seasonless” the appropriate word for that???). It’s the recipe for which I still receive the most complements and which people from the class continue to make. One friend passed it on to her mother, who passed it on to her friend, and so on. Like a giant game of telephone.
So now I’m passing it on to you, my faithful readers.
The brilliance of couscous salad is that the couscous cooks in 5 minutes! Now you must still juice the citrus, toast the walnuts, chop the onions and parsley – but it’s all relatively quick. Nothing you can’t handle.
The color of this salad is beautiful. The curry powder give it a golden orange hue that’s studded with deep red from the cranberries and vibrant green from the onions and parsley.
Though I love an easy recipe that looks pretty, taste is still the most important. And this doesn’t disappoint with that either.
Curried Couscous Salad with Dried Cranberries (serves 4-6 as a side dish)
Note: To toast the walnuts, heat in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat, shaking pan occasionally until walnuts are lightly browned and have a nice aroma. Careful not to let them burn!
3/4 cup (150 grams) couscous
3/4 cup (90 grams) dried cranberries
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup (180 ml) boiling water
Juice and zest of ½ orange, separated
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 spring/green onions, white and green parts, sliced thin
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
½ lemon, juiced
3/4 cup (75 grams) chopped, toasted walnuts
Stir the couscous, cranberries, curry powder, salt and sugar together in a medium-sized heatproof bowl. Pour boiling water over the couscous. Add the orange juice. Give it a big stir, cover the bowl tightly and let it stand until the water is absorbed and the couscous tender, about 5 minutes.
Fluff up couscous with a fork. Add the orange zest, olive oil, green onions, parsley, lemon juice and walnuts. Stir until everything is distributed evenly through the couscous. Add pepper and additional salt, to taste. Serve at room temperature. Best if made a few hours or a day ahead of time so the flavors blend.
Adapted from Dave Lieberman / Foodnetwork.com