19 May 2011

Charred Vegetable Couscous

I managed to get a reasonable shot of the leftovers from last night's yummy Couscous dish!

There was just enough for lunch today - and by way of experimentation, I added a little Balsamic & Red Pepper Dressing over the top of it.  Mmmmn, it certainly added the sharpness that the lemon juice had hinted at, but not particularly delivered but that the red wine vinegar would certainly have delivered, had I have used it.

But I'm rattling on too fast.

Owing to the success of the Ottolenghi Green Couscous, I was filled with enthusiasm to try another recipe now that I know the kind of degree of flavour that makes Couscous good.  I found Jun Tanaka's recipe for Charred Vegetable and Couscous salad on the Good Food Channel's website and it definitely looked a likely candidate - with the added benefit that it allowed me to play with my new griddle pan, too.

However, I was a teensy bit concerned over the addition of red wine vinegar to the mix, as Son & heir is completely anti-vinegar at the moment.  In truth, I should have just added it, as he left all his vegetables and just ate the couscous.  I can't think it would have mattered.

However, the char-grilled veggies were glorious just on their own - and deliciously yummy when added to the moistened couscous.  I kept half of the aubergine aside for another day (char-grilled) as the aubergine I'd been sent with the order was humungous and would have fed an army, I suspect.

I am just SO glad I've found my way with couscous now!  It's always good to have an extra string to your culinary bow when trying to set the dinner menu for the week.

Here's Jun Tanaka's recipe.  I made it as is except for the garlic & vinegar, which I omitted.


Ingredients :

150g couscous
50ml extra virgin olive oil
half a tsp of dried thyme (or a sprig, if fresh)
175ml water
half a chicken stock cube (or vegetable, for a vegetarian option)
1 red pepper, seeds removed and cut into small cubes
1 courgette, cut into small pieces
1 aubergine, cut into small pieces
8 asparagus spears, trimmed & cut in half lengthways
75ml red wine vinegar
6-8 spring onions, trimmed and sliced finely
small handful of parsley, chopped fine
small bunch of basil, chopped fine
lemon juice to taste.

Method :

1.  Place the couscous in a bowl.  In a small saucepan, heat the water, 25ml of the olive oil, the thyme and the stock cube until the stock cube is dissolved and the whole thing comes to the boil.

2.  Remove from the heat and pour the contents over the couscous, tipping the bowl this way and that to ensure all the couscous is made wet.  Cover in cling film and leave to steam for 20 minutes or so.

3.  (I did stages 3 to 4 lots earlier, as it took a long time - longer than the 20 minutes you've got for the couscous to steam).  Place the pepper, courgette, aubergine and asparagus in a large bowl.  Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and add the remainder of the olive oil.  Toss to ensure all are coated evenly.

4.  Heat a griddle pan and cook the vegetables on the griddle for 8-10 minutes, turning them over occasionally.  Once all the vegetables are cooked, put them back in the bowl and cut the asparagus into 4 smaller pieces.

5.  Add the red wine vinegar and the spring onions.

6.  Remove the cling film from the couscous and fluff it up with a fork.  Add the vegetables and mix well, together with the parsley and basil.

7.  Taste to check for seasoning and add a good squeeze or three of lemon juice.  Give a final stir, and serve.


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