In her Hip Kosher cookbook, Ronnie Fein writes "Tiny balls of Israeli couscous are the culinary pearls of the pasta world. This recipe combines sweet and piquant flavors in one dish. It’s a treat with grilled meat or poultry, but also can be used as a snack or hors d’oeuvre."
Make it a Meal: For an easy to prepare, yet elegant meal, pair the couscous with Fein's Roasted Pistachio-Crusted Salmon. While you've got the got the fish in the oven, you can simultaneously prepare a tasty side of Roasted Cauliflower with Curry or Roasted Broccoli with Ginger. For dessert, spoon some Cherry Bourbon Compote over ice cream or this Citrus-Soaked Butter Cake.
Ingredient Tip: What's the difference between regular couscous and Israeli couscous? The former is a tiny semolina pasta that's a cornerstone of Moroccan cuisine. Traditionally hand rolled, steaming turns the tiny couscous grains light and fluffy, and perfect for catching all of the goodness of saucy tagines. Today, instant couscous is widely available, and cooks around the world have embraced couscous as a side dish and salad base. Israeli couscous (aka pearl couscous) is also semolina based, but it is larger and has a chewy texture that's quite different from regular couscous. It also takes longer to cook than instant couscous -- about 11 to 13 minutes. While texture-wise the two types of couscous aren't exactly interchangeable, in salads like this one, either will work. If you want to experiment with swapping varieties, just be sure to follow the cooking directions for whichever type you choose before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.
Recipe Reprinted with Permission from Hip Kosher: 175 Easy-To-Prepare Recipes for Today's Kosher Cooks by Ronnie Fein.
- 1 cup Israeli couscous
- 1/4 cup chopped or slivered almonds
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 3–4 medium scallions, chopped
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh orange peel
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Place the couscous in a dry sauté pan over medium heat and cook for 3–4 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until the couscous is lightly toasted.
2. Place the couscous in a saucepan, add 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook for 8–9 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed and spoon it into a bowl.
3. While the couscous is cooking, toast the almonds in the sauté pan over medium heat for 4–5 minutes or until they are lightly browned.
Add to the couscous.
4. Stir in the cranberries and scallions and toss ingredients to distribute them evenly.
5. Mix the olive oil, vinegar, and orange peel in a small bowl and pour over the couscous.
6. Toss the ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper.