Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Couscous Salad with Grilled Tomatoes - Recipe

Ottolenghi meets Morocco
To continue with my Moroccan theme, I have a delicious couscous salad to share.

Few months ago, the channel More4 showed Ottolenhi's Mediterranean Feast. I loved this program, as Chef Yotam Ottolenghi travels in Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey and Israel and discovers some of their lesser-known cuisines. My favorite episode is when he travels to Morocco and gives his personal touch to the traditional dishes of the region. 

The one recipe that I always go back to is his Couscous with grilled cherry tomatoes and fresh herbs. It is an easy and versatile salad that goes well with a piece of grilled lamb, skewer kebab or just on its own with some nice fresh yoghurt dip.

Serves: 8

6 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, sliced
1 tsp honey      (I skipped this)
1/2 tsp Ras el Hanout spice mix
60 g sultanas or raisins
600 g cherry tomatoes
500 g couscous
25 g unsalted butter
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and lightly crushed      ( I used ground cumin)
1 garlic clove, crushes       (I skipped, and used ground garlic powder)
80 g toasted almonds, roughly chopped
25 g rocket, roughly chopped     (I skipped)
20 g coriander, roughly chopped     (I skipped)
20 g parsley, roughly chopped
20 g mint, roughly torn
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
2 tbsp argan oil


1- Preheat the oven to 150C.

2- Start by caramelizing the onions. In a saute pan on medium heat, add 2 tbsp olive oil, the onions, honey, ras el hanout, salt and pepper. Cook for 15-30 minutes, until onions are soft, dark and sweet. Remove from the heat, stir in the raisins and set aside.

3- Place a ridged griddle pan on high heat. Mix the tomatoes with 2 tbsp oil and cook in the hot pan for 4 minutes, until the skin is slightly charred. Set aside.

4- Line the base and sides of a roasting tin with baking paper, put in the couscous with 1/2 tsp salt. Pour over 800 ml of boiling water and 2 tbsp oil. Stir and leave to soak for 10 minutes, covered. Dot the soaked couscous with the butter and cover with foil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Once done, fluff the couscous with a fork.

I skipped this step as I used instant couscous. To 2 cups of couscous I added 2 + 1/4 boiling water in large bowl. Before covering it, I added the ras el hanout and 1/2 tsp ground cumin as well as 1 tbsp butter. Covered it with foil and let it soak up the liquid. Fluffed it with a fork in the end.

5- Once the couscous has cooled slightly, transfer to a large bowl. Add the onions mix and stir. Add the cumin seeds, garlic, almonds, rocket and most of the herbs.

In the program he chops some of the herbs in a bowl and mix it with the almonds and lemon juice as well as some olive oil. I followed that step and the mixed in the herbs with the couscous.

6- Finally add the lemon juice and salt & pepper and mix gently. Scatter the tomatoes over the couscous and finish with additional herbs and drizzle of argan oil. 


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