I have rediscovered this tiny "pasta" lately in my quest for quick-cooking summertime vegetable containers. It's a staple food in a lot of warm places like North and West Africa, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Italy, Greece, the Middle East and India. It's quick-cooking even in the non-instant form we use.
I have a slightly fancy (and very tasty) recipe from a French cookbook below, but water and a little salt works fine. This week I made the whiteacre peas again and served them on couscous instead of the polenta. When it needed reheating, I sautéed a few onions in a little butter, added the peas, crumbled the couscous on top, followed by a little grated cheese. Hot pepper relish (like mine or the Grahams) added some spark.
FANCY COUSCOUS SALAD*
1 1/2 cups chicken stock (I used water)
1 1/2 cups couscous (non-instant)
2 tablespoons butter cut in small pieces
5 1/2 cups olive oil
4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1/4 cups minced, fresh mint
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Bring the stock (or water) to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Stir in the couscous, cover, and cook over very low heat for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the couscous stand, covered, until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 5 minutes. Add the butter to the couscous and fluff carefully with a fork to separate the grains. I use my fingers as well. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil and fluff again. The idea is for each pellet to be separate and fluffy. Let cool to room temperature.
PLAIN OLD COUSCOUS
Boil lightly salted water, add an equal amount of couscous, fluff as above.
*From Potager: Fresh Garden Cooking in the French Style, by Georgeanne Brennan