Green Couscous Salad
Couscous has to be the best of all the ‘instant’ foods. It is semolina that has been rolled in flour, which means the grains stay separate when cooked. It is sold pre-treated to cook very quickly and easily. The recipe is ideal as an accompaniment to grilled kebabs, chicken or fish. To make it into more of a main course, you could add 150g (5oz) crumbled goat’s or feta cheese.
- 250g (9oz) couscous
- 400ml (14fl oz) vegetable stock
- 150g (5oz) fresh asparagus spears
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 6 spring onions, chopped
- 150g (5oz) mangetout peas, sliced on the diagonal
- 50g (2oz) pine nuts, toasted
- 6 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 3 tbsp chopped mint
- To garnish:
- Lemon slices
- Sprigs of mint and parsley
Measure the couscous in to a large bowl. Bring the vegetable stock to the boil. Cut the asparagus spears into 2.5cm (1½in) lengths and add to the boiling stock with the mangetout.
Cook for about 3 minutes or until just tender but still with bite, then remove the pan from the heat. Position a colander over the bowl of couscous, then pour the liquid contents of the pan into it.
Add the salt and some pepper to the couscous, give it a stir then cover and leave aside to cool. Refresh the asparagus and mangetout under cold running water, drain, then pat dry on kitchen paper; leave aside until needed.
By this time, the couscous should have absorbed all the stock. Add the lemon juice and olive oil and toss with two forks to mix. Now add the spring onions, asparagus, mangetout, pine nuts, parsley and mint.
Toss again, then taste and flavour with more salt, pepper or lemon juice if preferred. Serve at room temperature, garnished with slices of lemon and sprigs of mint and parsley.
P R E P A R E AHEAD The salad can be prepared without the garnish, cooled, covered and stored in the fridge for up to 6 hours. Not suitable for freezing.