I can put this summery dish together in a half-hour or less. The couscous takes just a few minutes to prepare; I use frozen peas that I always keep stashed in the freezer; and in the summer I always have fresh herbs on hand.
Better yet, it's a side dish that can be easily turned into an entree. If I add feta cheese and grilled chicken, I've got a quick meal. Grilled shrimp is even nicer. To make it heartier, I can add cubed grilled lamb.
Easy as this dish is, there are a few caveats. First, don't omit the parsley. Its bright green hue will mask the less-attractive mint that tends to turns black after it has been chopped. Second, use a good-tasting white wine vinegar; there are so few ingredients that its flavor needs to shine. And finally, don't add the peas until right before serving. They lose their vibrant color as they mix with the vinegar.
Yield: Makes a generous 6 cups
- 1 1/2 cups plain (uncooked) couscous
- 8 ounces frozen peas, defrosted (a generous 1 1/2 cups)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar, or more to taste
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, or more as needed
- Freshly ground black pepper
Prepare the couscous according to the package directions. When it's ready, transfer it to a large bowl, fluffing it with a fork to break up any clumps.
Meanwhile, bring a 2-quart pot of lightly salted water to a boil and prepare a bowl of ice water. Add the peas to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Pour the peas into a colander and immediately transfer them to the ice water. Let them cool for 5 minutes, then drain in the colander, shaking off any excess water.
Add the mint, parsley, vinegar and oil to the couscous, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix to thoroughly combine. Taste, and adjust the seasonings as needed. If the couscous is too dry, stir in more oil, 1 tablespoon at a time. Add the blanched peas and stir to combine. Serve immediately.
From Nourish columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
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