Sunday, May 31, 2009

Couscous Salad | Cookout . 1

Couscous salad is the perfect summer meal for the times when tomatoes are really ripe, cucumbers abundant, mint rampant and the weather hot. It’s swift and simple, an entire satisfying meal in itself.

2 cups couscous
2 cups tomato juice
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon garlic (3 large cloves), minced and mashed
1/3 cup (8 medium) scallions, white parts only, thinly sliced
1- 6 ounce jar Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
3 teaspoons capers, rinsed, drained, minced and mashed
1-1/2 cups (3 large stalks) celery, thinnly sliced
2 cups (3 medium) tomatoes, halved and finely sliced
1 tablespoon sugar (if tomatoes are out of season)
1-1/2 cups (1 large) red pepper, roasted, thinnly sliced
1 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut in 1-inch lengths, steamed
1- 15 ounce can cooked garbanzo beans
2 teaspoons dried basil, rubbed
1-1/2 cups cilantro (1 large bunch), stemmed and chopped
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
black pepper to taste, freshly ground
1 head lettuce, washed dried and shredded

1. Bring the tomato juice to a simmer in a small saucepan. Pour over the couscous in a large heat-proof mixing bowl. Add the oil. Stir, cover and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes, until the couscous is swollen and tender.
2. Ix in all the other ingredients in the order listed. Cover and refrigerate for at least three hours, or better yet overnight.
3. Serve over a bed of shredded lettuce.