Summer greens with cous cous

“A well-made salad must have a certain uniformity; it should make perfect sense for those ingredients to share a bowl.”

Yotam Ottolenghi

This delicious salad sparkles with summer flavours and textures, and I do believe that it makes perfect sense for all of them to be there; in the bowl, on the plate, and in the mouth. Crisp salad leaves, fresh herbs, lemony dressing and summer green vegetables, sweet and fragrant. We have a vibrant and very productive herb garden so at our place the large quantity of herbs is easy to gather. They really make the dish, so don’t scrimp on them. I like to pass soft feta cheese separately, so that people can add what suits their palate.

Serves 6 – 8:
250 g Israeli cous cous
500 ml chicken or vegetable stock
3 small zucchinis, or 1 medium sized zucchini, chopped into small pieces
150 g sugar-snap peas, whole
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 5 cm lengths
3 cups mixed salad leaves (about 100g)
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped fresh herbs – chives, dill, mint, flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil (I use a lemon infused olive oil)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
150 g soft feta cheese

In a medium sized saucepan, bring the chicken or vegetable stock and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to the boil over high heat. Sprinkle in the cous cous and turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook, uncovered for 10 – 12 minutes, or until the liquid is almost all absorbed. Take off the heat, cover, and sit for 3 or 4 minutes. Turn out onto a large plate and separate the grains gently with a fork. Leave to cool. In the same saucepan (saves washing up!) bring  lightly salted water to the boil. Add the zucchini, peas and asparagus and cook for 2 minutes. Drain, and refresh by running under some cold water. When the cous cous is at room temperature toss it in a large bowl with the chopped herbs, the remaining olive oil and the lemon juice. Season to taste with the sea salt and pepper. Gently fold in the cooked vegetables and the salad leaves. Serve straight away, with the feta passed separately. This is really beautiful with pan fried fresh snapper or salmon and a glass of pinot gris.

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