Israeli Couscous Salad

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There was a Relief Society backyard dinner tonight and the menu was salads pot luck style.  I signed up to bring something, but wanted to make sure that it wasn’t going to be replicated by everyone else.  I had seen this salad with pearl couscous in one of my Cooks Illustrated Magazines and tucked it away for a future date which happened to be tonight.  It turned out good, kind of Mediterranean and different than the typical salads you come across.

ISRAELI COUSCOUS SALAD

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 C red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 C Israeli couscous (or pearl couscous)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 1/2 C water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 shallots, sliced thin
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 oz (4 C) baby arugula, roughly chopped
  • 1 C fresh mint leaves, torn
  • 1/2 C frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 C pistachios, toasted and chopped
  • 3 oz (1/4 C) feta cheese, crumbled

Directions:

  1. Bring vinegar, sugar, and pinch of salt to smile in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves.  Add shallots and stir to combine.  Cover and let cool completely, about 30 minutes.  Drain and discard liquid.
  2. Heat couscous and oil in medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until about half of grains are golden brown, 5-6 minutes.  Add water and salt; stir to combine.  Increase heat to high and bring to boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until water is absorbed, 9-12 minutes.  Remove saucepan from heat and let stand, covered, for 3 minutes.  Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and let cool completely, about 15 minutes.
  3. Whisk oil, lemon juice, mustard, red pepper flakes, and 1/8 tsp salt together in large bowl.  Add cooled couscous, arugula, mint, peas, 6 Tbsp pistachios, 1/2 C feta, and shallots and toss to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 C feta and remaining 2 Tbsp pistachios and serve.
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