Discover simple preparations for those with a sophisticated palette in Chef Alan Jackson’s The Lemonade Cookbook (St. Martin’s Press, 2013), which emphasizes healthy dining while on-the-go. In this excerpt, from the chapter “Marketplace Vegetables + Legumes + Grains,” Jackson offers instructions for a nutritious pasta substitute: an Israeli Couscous recipe.
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Israeli couscous, sometimes called “pearl pasta,” is a delightfully soft, satisfying, healthy “grain” that’s a welcome substitute to the average pasta, potato and rice dishes. Like all starches, couscous provides a versatile foundation upon which you can build any combination of flavors. Here, I’ve chosen a medley of earthy mushrooms for depth; grainy, aged Parmesan for height; and an herbaceous finish of fresh parsley. This couscous dish makes a terrific side for roasts or grilled meats, and you can add whatever savory ingredients you like to jazz it up.
Israeli Couscous Recipe with Lemon-Truffle Vinaigrette
• 3/4 pound assorted wild mushrooms, such as crimini, shiitake and oyster, wiped of grit, stemmed and sliced
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• Coarse salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1 cup Israeli couscous
• 1 cup vegetable broth or water
• 1/4 cup Lemon-Truffle Vinaigrette (See recipe below.)
• 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
• 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Put the mushrooms on a large baking pan, drizzle with the oil, toss to coat, and spread out in a single layer. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast, shaking the pan from time to time, until the mushrooms lose their moisture, shrink, and begin to brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a mixing bowl, and set aside to cool. The mushrooms can easily be prepared in advance, covered and refrigerated.
3. To prepare the couscous, place a large dry skillet over medium-low heat. Toast the couscous, stirring frequently, until it smells nutty and is golden-brown, about 5 minutes. Pour in the broth, cover, and simmer until the couscous is just tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Set the couscous aside to cool. The couscous can easily be prepared in advance, covered and refrigerated.
4. When ready to prepare the dish, in a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked, cooled mushrooms, couscous, vinaigrette, cheese and parsley. Season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Makes 4 cups.
Simply omit the truffle oil for an all-purpose Lemon Vinaigrette.
• Juice of 2 lemons
• 3/4 cup canola oil
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/4 teaspoon white truffle oil
• 1 teaspoon coarse salt
• 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1. In a small mixing bowl or Mason jar, combine the lemon juice, canola, olive and truffle oils; season with salt and pepper. Whisk or shake to blend.
2. Keep any leftover vinaigrette covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Makes 1 cup.
More Recipes from The Lemonade Cookbook
From The Lemonade Cookbook by Alan Jackson and Joann Cianciulli. Copyright © 2013 by Alan Jackson and Joann Cianciulli and reprinted by permission of St. Martin's Press, LLC.