This week’s recipe comes from Sam Kass, former White House chef and senior food policy advisor and the author of Eat a Little Better (http://www.shakeandco.com/shake_trade/categories.php?category=detail&isbn=9780451494948). What I love about this book is that it features a few different variations on a simple dish, and today I will be sharing two delicious ways to serve couscous using the edamame, spinach, carrots, and shallots in our CSA shares. I think these dishes are perfect for the weather we’re having, and I hope you enjoy them!
Couscous Two Ways: with Olives, Spinach, and Slow-Cooked Garlic & with Roasted Carrots and Shallots
From Eat a Little Better by Sam Kass
Pick it up at Kitchen Arts & Letters, or order from http://www.shakeandco.com/shake_trade/categories.php?category=detail&isbn=9780451494948
At the White House, couscous frequently saved the day—or at least, the First Family’s dinner. Whenever I was running late and rice wasn’t an option, I’d turn to the whole-wheat variety of this trusty North African staple, essentially a kind of tiny pasta. The whole-grain version is virtually indistinguishable in flavor and texture from its refined counterpart (something I wish I could say about most Italian pasta), and it offers far more fiber. Plus it’s a dream when you’re tight on time. Not only does it take just 10 minutes to prepare, you don’t even have to monitor the pot. Instead, you stir it into boiling stock or water, turn off the heat, and let it hang out. If I’m in a real rush, I’ll just serve it as a side with a drizzle of oil and squeeze of lemon or splash of vinegar. But when I have the time, I like to incorporate vegetables and herbs, so it acts as the centerpiece of a meal.
Step One: Simple Couscous
(Makes a little more than twice as much cooked couscous as dried.)
1. For every 1 1/4 cups of couscous, use 1 1/2 cups liquid (I like to use half water and half low-sodium stock for extra flavor). Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat in a pot with a lid. Stir in the couscous, cover the pot, and take it off the heat. Let it sit until the water’s been absorbed and the couscous is tender, about 10 minutes. Gently fluff with a fork, breaking up any clumps.
2. Use the couscous right away or let it cool. It’s great hot or cold. Once cooled, it keeps in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Pro Tip: Just before serving, try splashing some hot chicken stock on the couscous to keep it moist.
Couscous with Olives, Spinach, and Slow-Cooked Garlic
(Serves 4 to 6.)
1 head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups whole-wheat couscous, warm
1 cup shelled edamame beans
4 cups spinach, chopped like you would for a salad
1/2 cup very roughly chopped pitted kalamata olives
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1. Make the garlic: Combine the garlic and oil in a small heavy saucepan and set over very low heat. Let the garlic gently sizzle until smooshably soft and golden in places, about 45 minutes. Store the garlic and oil in the same container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
2. Make the dish: Fluff the couscous with a fork and stir in 4 mashed cloves of the cooked garlic and 1/4 cup of the reserved garlic oil, edamame, spinach, olives, vinegar, and salt to taste.
Couscous with Roasted Carrots and Shallots
(Serves 4 to 6.)
6 to 8 medium carrots, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
3 medium shallots, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups cooked whole-wheat couscous, warm
Handful of coarsely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2. Toss the carrots and shallots on a baking sheet with 2 tablespoons of the oil and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Spread them out in a single layer and roast until golden brown in spots and tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
3. Fluff the couscous with a fork and stir in the carrots, shallots, parsley, and vinegar along with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Season with more salt and vinegar to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl.
© 2018, Sam Kass.