I prepared this summer salad for a high school class reunion picnic. It was a bit of a challenge to quadruple-plus the recipe, but I think the end result was a success. It’s a an easy salad that can be prepared in less than an hour; unless you over toast the couscous, like I did, and have to meticulously remove the burnt pieces. Lesson learned!
I opted to use Israeli couscous because of it’s pearl-like shape and included a couple of containers that were colored. It made a nice contrast.
This recipe is courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis, one of my Italian favorites on the TV cooking network. I have provided the recipe for a serving of six. My upgraded recipe served 100 people; hence, the large disposable aluminum pan you see pictured.
- 3 TBLS, plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound box Israeli couscous
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 1 zested lemon
- 1/2 tsp. salt & 1/2 tsp. pepper (season to taste)
- 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh spearmint leaves
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries or cranraisins
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted is optional
1) In a medium saucepan, heat 3 TBLS olive oil over medium heat. Add couscous, cook for 5 minutes until lightly toasted. Stir often prevent scorching.
2) Add chicken stock and juice of 1 lemon. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 8-10 minutes. You want the couscous tender, but still firm to the bite. Stir
occasionally while cooking.
3) Drain cooked couscous and place in a large bowl. Toss with 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and seasonings. Cool couscous to room temperature. This is VERY important. You don’t want the fresh herbs to wilt when they are added to the couscous.
4) Once cooled, add fresh herbs, dried cranberries and almonds. Combine and toss to evenly distribute ingredients.
TIP: If making larger quantities, toss all ingredients in an unused kitchen trash bag. Once mixed, empty contents of bag into the serving container.