Discovering new ingredients.

Israeli couscous and cauliflower saladWith that same bag of organic lemons in my previous post, I still had a couple leftover which I was going to reserve for some iced water with lemon. But instead of just wasting it on that, I decided to incorporate it in a new dish: Israeli couscous and cauliflower salad.

I had never heard of Israeli couscous until I had read both Yotam Ottlenghi’s Plenty and Jerusalem. I had only heard of regular couscous which is so drastically different that Israeli style couscous. Israeli couscous I would describe as little balls of heaven. They are chewy, delicate balls with a texture that may be similar to…orzo? It’s really hard to describe.

When I had first laid my eyes on a physical box of Israeli couscous, it was at Trader Joe’s. Naturally, I picked it up and decided that one day, I would use it. It’s now March and I finally got around to making something with it.

I knew I wanted to make Najib’s special but wasn’t sure what to pair it with. I ended up rummaging through my cupboards, fridge, and pantries to think of something that I can throw together. I didn’t want to make an unnecessary trip to the store so basically, I was just going to create something based on what I had on-hand. When this happens, I like to imagine I’m on the set of Food Network’s Chopped or something. I’m weird like that.

What did I end up with? Onions, frozen green peas, and Israeli couscous. Having never cooked Israeli couscous before I was intrigued and exciting. To me, it was an interesting grain that I could use to bulk up this salad. In the end, it worked out extremely well! I think this salad could work well with any type of roasted vegetable. Perhaps some dried fruit and nuts would work too and would add more of a Moroccan twist to it.
Israeli couscous and cauliflower saladIsraeli couscous and cauliflower salad

What you’ll need:
– 1 head of cauliflower, prepared a la Najib’s special
– 1 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
– 1 1/3 cups Israeli couscous
– 1 3/4 cups homemade stock
– 3 tsps ghee or vegetable oil
– 2 small onions, sliced
– 1/2 cup green peas
– 1 small lemon, zested and juiced
– Salt and pepper, to taste

What you’ll need to do:
1. Prepare the cauliflower according the linked recipe. Set aside.
2. In a small pot, melt the ghee and add the Israeli couscous and saute until it is evenly coated. Add the stock, bring to a boil and lower the temperature to let simmer. It should cook in about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
3. While the couscous is cooking, melt the ghee over medium-high heat and add the sliced onions. You want them to adopt some colour on them. Saute for 5 minutes and add the green peas. Turn off the heat and set aside.
4. In a medium bowl, add all of the ingredients and mix. Add the lemon zest and juice and salt and pepper to taste. Makes 2-4 servings.

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