Listen, what if I told you that the festive-as-confetti salad above was created using the stovetop for, say, five minutes. That’s the time it takes to boil less than 2 cups of water, right? Five minutes of cooking.
Sounds pretty compelling, especially when you consider the oppressive, in-the-nineties heat that barged in last week like an unwelcome guest—and has yet to pack up and leave.
BELIEVE! This Too Good To Be True recipe is bonafide: Healthy, full of intriguing flavors and textures, Curried Fruit Couscous also requires almost no cooking.
This fabulous recipe comes courtesy of Michele Watkins Knaus, a chef and food activist currently living in Portland, Oregon. She worked for me several years ago, filling in while my right arm Tonya was on maternity leave. Later, we catered Michele’s wedding, and this was one of her specialties that she asked us to prepare.
The basic recipe serves 6-8 generously, and readily multiplies: Doubled, Quadrupled, Times Twelve, Times Twenty—-it’s one of those caterer’s dream recipes that can be made in mass quantities with exceptional results.
You can serve it mounded in large bowl, or molded into pretty individual servings. Eat it by itself, or along with salad greens. Or, take it uptown: Use it as a foundation for fancy-pants grilled sea scallops, or butter-sauteed trout.
Don’t be daunted by the list of ingredients. You already have some of the essentials in your pantry. For the rest, with a little forethought, and a quick trip to the grocery, you can assemble everything you need. The beauty of the dish is in the couscous itself.
Boiled water poured over the couscous in a bowl, stirred and sealed, cooks it to fluffy perfection. While the tiny pasta grains sit in that bowl, effortlessly absorbing the water, you can shred carrots, slice dried apricots, chop flat leaf parsley.
The dressing whisks up in a heartbeat. The yogurt binds the oil and vinegar, and serves as a terrific vehicle for the spice. Vegan friends can substitute a soy based yogurt; that’s all it takes to make it vegan friendly.
You may want to double the Curried Yogurt Dressing, and save half to drizzle over some salad greens, or grilled chicken, alongside your couscous.
The colorful array combines to make a satisfying summer dish, spice and sweet, fast and cool. Thanks, Michele!
CURRIED FRUIT COUSCOUS adapted from Michele Watkins Knaus
1 Â½ cups Couscous
1 Â½ cups Water
Â½ t. Kosher Salt
The Curried Yogurt Dressing
Â¼ c. Plain Yogurt
Â¼ cup Olive Oil
1 t. White Balsamic or White Wine Vinegar
1 t. Curry Powder
Â½ t. Turmeric
1 t. Kosher Salt
1 t. fresh ground Black Pepper
dash of crushed Red Pepper Flakes
The Salad Fruits-Veggies-Nuts
Â½ c. Carrots, shredded
Â½ c. Flat Leaf Parsley,coarsely chopped
Â½ c. Dried Apricots, slivered and diced
Â½ c. Golden Raisins
Â¼ c. Toasted Almonds, chopped
3 Scallions, chopped, green tops included
Place couscous into medium bowl . Add Â½ t. to 1 Â½ c. water and bring to a boil. Pour over the couscous and quickly stir. Cover tightly with plastic wrap—the couscous will absorb the water and be cooked in 5 minutes. Remove wrap and fluff with a fork.
Whisk together: yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, curry powder, turmeric, salt, black and red peppers. Pour over the couscous, and stir until all is well coated.
Add all the dried fruits, nuts, carrots, parsley and stir well. Serve in a large bowl, or make individual molds by pressing the salad firmly into a small bowl, and then invert onto a salad plate.