Couscous is lovely, of course, but I really feel you have to make an extra special effort to get a couscous dish that stands on its own. Couscous requires you to go that extra mile to avoid flavourless clumps and a side dish untouched. The effort is, however, worth it.
To quote the brilliant Lucy Mangan from Stylist "Couscous, I think, is the key to it all for me. It sits there, a bowlful of infinite challenge and reproach. It is nothing by itself. It depends on you to season, flavour and make it come alive. What you bring to couscous, what you make of it, is all that you are. It is more exposing than the most sleeveless of summer dresses."
Read this as Ottolenghi's lesson on couscous resurrection.
A beautiful, healthy crowd pleaser is what you will find in this dish. I did the man test too and it passed with flying colours.
Ottolenghi's Green Couscous
Quantities: Feeds 4-6 as a side
Timings: 15/20 mins
Kitchen Stuff: Hand whizzer/food processor/pulp maker, frying pan, cling film
160ml boiling water or vegetable stock
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
50g pistachios, shelled & toasted
3 spring onion, finely sliced
1 fresh green chili, thinly sliced
30g rocket, chopped
20g flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp tarragon
2 tbsp dill
2 tbsp mint
90ml olive oil
- SO NICE THEY NAMED IT TWICE: Place the couscous in a large bowl and add boiling water or stock (I used stock, preferable for a bit more flavour). Cover the bowl with clingfilm and let it stand for 10 minutes.
- ONIONS & CUMIN: Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over a medium heat and add the thinly sliced onion. Cook, stirring regularly, until the onion is golden and soft. Add the salt and cumin to the onions and stir together. Move the onions to a small bowl or plate and leave to cool slightly. Give your pan a wipe and toast the pistachios if you haven't already.
- HERBY PULP: For the herb paste, pop all your herb paste ingredients in a food processor (I used a hand whizzer) and blitz until you have a lovely smooth herby pulp.
- FORK FLUFFING: Uncover the couscous and briefly fluff with a fork. Stir in your herb paste, using your fork to continue fluffing. Add your onions, pistachios, spring onion, chili, and rocket then gently mix to combine. Serve at room temperature.