If you haven’t tried couscous lately, you might want to give it another thought. When it comes to whole grains and such, couscous could well be regarded as a cook’s best friend. Although, it’s actually closer to a pasta, since it is made from semolina, the ground hard high protein portion of the durum wheat grain.
Once combined with boiling water the tiny shape expands voluminously and is ready to eat in 10 minutes—without touching the stove. In North Africa multi-level couscousières are a kitchen staple. These clever, efficient pots simmer flavorful stews in the bottom portion while their beloved couscous is positioned above in a separate steamer compartment absorbing all the flavorful moisture from below.
Over the centuries couscous’ popularity has spread along the Mediterranean with regional dishes found in France, Greece, Spain, and Portugal. There are different sizes, too, with Israeli, or pearl couscous, being larger and chewier when prepared.
Unlike finicky pasta that requires last minute cooking, tiny couscous is very forgiving. It will wait for you. If you would rather focus your attention and energy on grilling, roasting, or sautéing your entrée grab some mild and easy couscous. Slip in a few vegetables, flavor with complementary herbs or spices, and you are good to go without missing a beat.
Couscous with Zucchini and Red Pepper
2/3 cup couscous
1 cup boiling water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium zucchini, trim cut into chunks
1 clove garlic, flatten with a knife
1 small red pepper, seed and cut into strips
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons green onion, chop
- In a medium bowl combine couscous, 1 cup boiling water, salt and stir with a fork. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let stand 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile heat olive oil in medium sauté pan over medium high heat. Add zucchini, 1 clove garlic, red pepper and thyme and sauté for about 5 minutes to brown and soften slightly. Remove garlic.
- Fluff couscous with a fork and gently combine in pan with vegetables. Heat briefly, add green onion and serve. Serves 4.