Use an Italian canned tuna packed in oil for this salad, which gets better as it sits at room temperature.
Make Ahead: The partially assembled salad can be made 1 day in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container. Bring the salad to room temperature, then add the scallions, basil and lemon juice just before serving.
Servings: 6 - 8
Yield: Makes 10 cups
- 10 to 12 ounces dried Israeli couscous
- 14 ounces canned or jarred Italian tuna, drained and flaked
- Finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice from 2 or 3 lemons (2 teaspoons zest and 3/4 cup juice)
- 1/2 cup good-quality olive oil
- 3 tablespoons capers, drained
- 3 ounces pitted, oil-cured black olives, coarsely chopped (1/2 cup)
- 4 ounces jarred roasted red peppers, drained and cut into medium diced (1/2 cup)
- 2 medium cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1 bunch (6 to 8) scallions, white and light-green parts, chopped (1 cup)
- 1/4 cup lightly packed basil leaves, stacked then cut into very thin strips
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the couscous, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the couscous is just tender. Drain.
Meanwhile, combine the tuna, lemon zest and 1/4 cup of the lemon juice, oil, capers, olives, roasted red peppers, garlic, salt and the pepper in a mixing bowl. Add the just-drained couscous and stir to incorporate. Cover and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring a few times to make sure the salad is well blended.
Just before serving, stir in the scallions, basil and the remaining 1/2 cup of lemon juice. Taste and add salt (up to 1 teaspoon) and pepper as needed. Serve at room temperature.
Adapted from "Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust," by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter, 2012).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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