Is it just me, or did you also think that Couscous was a grain? I remember reading somewhere a while ago that it was actually a pasta in a minuscule granular form, but it must’ve completely skipped my mind when I made it alongside some Spaghetti arrabiata for dinner last night. How very un-savvy of me for having forgotten that, what with all the cooking shows that I watch in the name of research.
I just looked it up again to clarify though, and it looks like we weren’t completely off. While some argue that since the method of making couscous is rather unconventional, it doesn’t really fall under the ‘pasta’ category, whereas, the flip side is that it technically cannot be called a grain since it’s actually just crushed durum wheat. So the sum and substance of it is that it’s neither here nor there. So we were neither right nor wrong. I wish more things in life were this ambiguous.
Arguably one of the most versatile grain/pasta there is, it holds well with almost any flavour combination you give it. I had roasted vegetables mixed through along with some fresh figs and pomegranate seeds for a slight variation, and for no other reason than that I had them lying around. See what I mean by versatile?
I have a lemon and thyme version in mind for next time. Or maybe one with a spicy Indian twist.. I’m neither here nor there just yet.
INGREDIENTS: (Serves 4)
1 cup couscous
4 fresh figs, quartered
Freshly ground black pepper
For the roasted vegetables:
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 yellow pepper, de-seeded and sliced lengthways
1 red pepper, de-seeded and sliced lengthways
1 onion, cut into wedges
1 small head broccoli, cut into florets
5 cloves of garlic, husk left on
¼ cup Olive oil
For the dressing:
Garlic (from the roasted vegetables)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp honey
Pre-heat oven to 200 C / 395 F. Place all the vegetables (except broccoli) and garlic together in a bowl and toss with salt, pepper and olive oil. Lay them out on a foil-lined baking tray and roast for 30 minutes, turning once halfway through. Add the broccoli after 15 minutes. Let it cool to room temperature.
Tip the couscous into a bowl and add a pinch of salt. Pour in 1 cup of boiling water and cover for 10 – 15 minutes with a lid or cling film, by which time all the water will have been absorbed. Fork through to fluff it up slightly and set aside (if it’s still got a bite to it, add a bit more boiling water and cover for a few minutes).
Take the garlic cloves out of the roasting tray and squeeze out the tender pulp into a small bowl. Break it down to a paste with a fork and add the Dijon mustard, honey, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Mix well and pour into the now warm couscous and fork through.
Combine the couscous and roasted vegetables and top with fresh figs, torn mint leaves and pomegranate seeds. Best served warm.