Dear SOS: We had dinner at the Vertical Wine Bistro in Pasadena last week and loved the couscous. Could you provide the recipe?
Dear Barbara: Vertical wine bistro was happy to share her Israeli couscous recipe. It consists of a large pearl couscous flavored with chopped fresh herbs and garlic and a touch of lively spice from lemon juice and vinegar. It is complemented by complex notes of the Moroccan spice blend ras el hanout. The dish is perfect prepared in advance to give the flavors time to combine before serving.
Israeli couscous from Vertical Wine Bistro
45 minutes, plus cooling time. For 6 to 8 people
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of ras el hanout
1 package (8.78 ounces) Israeli couscous
Chicken or vegetable broth (usually 2 cups broth for 1 cup couscous, or as directed on package)
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-low heat. Add the white onion and ras el hanout and sweat until onion is translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the couscous over low heat and stir for 3 minutes, then add the broth. Increase heat to bring to a boil and cook until couscous is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Spread the cooked couscous on a shallow rimmed saucepan to cool, stirring occasionally.
2. In a large bowl, combine the red and green onions, bell pepper, tarragon, mint, cilantro, parsley, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic and the rest of the oil with the couscous, mixing gently with your hands to separate the couscous and fold together the Ingredients. Taste and adjust the seasoning as you wish.
3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to allow the flavors to blend. Take out of the refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving to come to room temperature, and stir once more before serving.
EACH OF 8 SERVINGS
Protein 4 grams
Carbohydrates 29 grams
Fiber 2 grams
Fat 9 grams
Saturated fat 1 gram
Sugar 2 grams
Sodium 218 mg
NOTE: Adapted from Vertical Wine Bistro; the restaurant suggests adding freshly grilled chicken, scallops or shrimp. Ras el-hanout can usually be found in kitchen supply stores, as well as gourmet markets, many well-stocked supermarkets, and online.