Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Orange Ginger Couscous Salad

There is a variation of this recipe, using regular couscous, in one of my former posts, but I am posting this one now because of all the requests I have received for it lately. This salad is great for potlucks, can be made a day ahead, and can be turned into a main meal with a little added protein such as cooked chicken, duck, pork or tofu. I have never known the original source of this recipe as it came to me via a chef/teacher in the form of a photo copy with no reference. I have since memorized it and have no idea where the original is.

A few weeks ago I was puttering around Les Douceurs de marche at Atwater Market, Montreal, Quebec after work when I came across Israeli couscous. I have photographed it for work (its very photogenic), but never prepared it at home. Israeli couscous has a smoother texture than regular couscous and a little more bite to it. I grabbed several bags and then went back a few weeks later for some more for myself and a friend.

This recipe is refreshing and perfect for a summer BBQ. Originally the recipe asked for currants instead of raisins, but in my humble opinion currants are cute but don't taste particularly good so I use raisins instead. The original recipe also asks for golden raisins and if you have some on hand add them along with the raisins in the same quantity (but leave them whole).

Orange Ginger Israeli Couscous Salad
serves 4
  • 300ml / 1 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 5 ml / 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 ml / 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 8 apricots, thinly sliced
  • 45 ml / 3 tablespoons raisins, chopped fine
  • 15 ml / 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled, chopped fine
  • 250 ml / 1 cup Israeli couscous (can be replaced by regular couscous just follow the packaging instructions)
  • 45 ml / 3 tablespoons red onion, chopped fine
  • 45 ml / 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (and more for seasoning)
  • sufficient quantity extra virgin olive oil
  • sufficient quantity salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 45 ml / 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

Heat the orange juice, salt, first quantity of olive oil, apricots, raisins and ginger until the orange juice comes to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, add the couscous and cover. Cook couscous until liquid is absorbed (about 8 minutes).

Remove from heat. Bring the apple cider vinegar to boil in a small sauce pan, and add the red onion. Stir until onion has turned pink (about 1 minute). Remove from heat. Add to the couscous and fluff couscous with a fork. Add a little extra virgin olive oil, a splash of apple cider vinegar and season to taste. Toss in the green onions. Add the pine nuts just before serving.

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