Sunday, 22 April 2012

Accidental Oriental

Insalata di Couscous con i Cumquat, Crespino, Menta e Crescione
Couscous Salad with Cumquats, Barberries, Mint and Cress

And again- couscous! And what is not to love about this wonderfully versatile, light, quick and easy food?! I love the way that it take no real cooking- just some boiling water or stock poured over it is enough... Don't you wish that more of the good things in life were that simple? And this IS one of the good things!

Whilst rummaging through my spices, I stumbled upon an old favorite of mine- Sumac! This tangy-sour spice had been neglected for far to long I felt! A powder made of the outer casing, a bright red membrane that covers nutmeg, it is omnipresent in oriental cuisine- and a wonderful way to season a salad without reaching for a vinegar, which is what we are used to doing... fun!

To prepare the couscous, I sliced a few cumquats in slices and removed the stones, sliced up a few chives very finely, omitted the garlic that I would have used on account of me having a dental appointment in the morning, added a handful of barberries and a tablespoon of Ras al Hanout powder. I added the couscous, a little salt and pepper, plenty of finely chopped mint and parsley and then poured boiling water over it until it was just covered. 5 minutes later I gave it a stir. 10 minutes later it was done and ready to be fluffed up with a fork and filled with flavors from those good ingredients- what could possibly be easier?

I served my couscous on a bed of thinly sliced cucumber, to add a little juicy freshness and topped it with some crispy and peppery watercress. I added a little plain yogurt and a drizzle of sesame oil and a sprinkle of sumac to give it all a little bit of a kick! Quick, easy and full of Summer sunshine... what more could you want? Other than for the Summer to finally begin!

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