Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Very Easy Mediterranean Couscous

Marinated, grilled salmon fillet on field greens with Mediterannean couscous and balsamic reduction. Sound complicated? Not at all.

Everyone is always looking for something that is easy to prepare, makes a great presentation and can accompany just about any beef, poultry or seafood main dish. Foodie Headquarters kitchens came up with yet another answer to this: Mediterranean Couscous. In less than ten minutes you can have a dish that not only makes for a great presentation but is also delicious. And it's simple!

You start with couscous, a pasta product that is often confused with grains due to the size of the small beads. There are loads of brands available at grocery stores everywhere now in plain and flavored varieties. All of them cook quickly and easily: you boil water, remove it from the heat, drop in the couscous, cover it and in five minutes it is done. My own favorite brand is Near East Roasted Garlic and Olive Oil but, really, you can use any brand.

To the couscous we are going to add a few ingredients: one small tin (2.25 oz) Black Pearls sliced ripe olives, about a half cup crumbled feta cheese, a cup of baby spinach cut into thin ribbons (chiffonade) two tablespoons chopped sun dried tomatoes, and a splash of good quality extra virgin olive oil.

Start by cutting the spinach. The chiffonade cutting technique is easy. Lay the spinach leaves flat and pile them on on top of another, maybe ten leaves. Roll them up like you are rolling up a cigar then cut them crosswise into small slices. Shake them out to form a small pile of ribbons. Here is a video of a rough chop chiffonade.

I use a finer chop and don't fold the leaves, as demonstrated. My pile of ribbons looked more like this.

If you''re not a fan of feta cheese you can always use the couscous, again, plain or flavored, as a base for your own inventions. I've made it with dried apricots and green onion, also a great combination. You could really add just about any chopped vegetable, cheese, nut or fruit. Just be sure that you choose something that will hold together well as the warmth of the couscous doesn't meld runny or mushy add-ins.

Plating up the Mediterranean Couscous will have your guests thinking you've spent hours in the kitchen.

Mediterranean Couscous: Elegant made simple.

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