- One 10-ounce box Near East couscous
- 1 1/2 cups cold water
- 3 red bell peppers
- 1 handful of asparagus, trimmed and peeled if need be
- 2 or 3 small firm zucchini or patty pan squash, sliced
- 1 small bunch of scallions, trimmed and finely sliced
- 2-4 fresh red chillies, seeded and finely sliced
- 3 good handfuls of mixed fresh herbs (basil, cilantro, mint, flat-leaf parsley)
- Olive oil and lemon juice dressing recipes (follows)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Red wine vinegar
DIRECTIONS Place the couscous in a bowl with the cold water. This will start to soften the couscous and you will see the water disappear as it soaks in. while the couscous is softening, we need to blacken the peppers. I do this by placing the peppers directly onto the flame of my gas stove. If you don’t have gas, then blacken under the broiler. Both ways you need to blacken the peppers on all sides, so turn when need be. When fully blackened, place in a sandwich bag, wrap in plastic wrap or cover in a bowl for 5 minutes, until cool. This will steam the skins and make peeled and seeding easier. Remove the skins and seeds and roughly chop.
On a very hot ridged skillet, lightly char the asparagus and squash on both sides, then toss them into the bowl of couscous with the peppers, scallions chillies and ripped-up herbs. Mix well. Add the olive oil and lemon juice dressing and toss well. Finally, taste and season with salt and pepper and a couple of dribbles of red wine vinegar for a slight twang. It’s a beautiful thing.
OLIVE OIL AND LEMON JUICE DRESSING
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
THIS COUSCOUS RECIPE: is quite a bit different from the norm because instead of boiling or steaming the couscous you just dress it raw with a really tasty dressing. This means it keeps a slight bite, which I think is more interesting for a salad.