Monday, April 02, 2007

springtime couscous salad

I made up the recipe for this delicious couscous salad and thought I'd share it with the world. The fresh mint flavor is a perfect accompaniment to Easter lunch! We had it as a side dish with sautéed shrimp that we rubbed with olive oil and then a mixture of lime zest, lemon zest, paprika, cayenne, salt & pepper. (of course these measurements are guesstimates since I made the thing up as I went along!)

3 cups dry couscous
3 cups water
2 medium cucumbers, finely diced with skins on
1 large red bell pepper, finely diced
1/3 cup minced spearmint leaves (use even more if you love the taste of mint like I do!)
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 can whole artichokes in water, drained and chopped
juice of one meyer lemon and one lime
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup good olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

To make:
Boil the water and remove from heat. Add couscous, stir, cover, and let stand for 5-10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.

In a dry pan on medium-low heat, toast the pine nuts until lightly brown and fragrant (you don't need to grease the pan, because the nuts will begin to release their own oil with the heat). Stir frequently to avoid burning. Set aside to cool.

In a large, pretty serving bowl, mix cucumbers, red pepper, artichokes, couscous, pine nuts, and mint. In a smaller bowl, whisk lemon, lime, and honey. Keep whisking and slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Pour dressing over salad ingredients and toss lightly to coat. Served at room temperature or chilled.

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