As for this month’s healthy recipe, I’m celebrating the return of green to the world by packing as many green spring vegetables and herbs as I can into one bowl of couscous. I mentioned last week that I had caved and bought some of the not-local-at-all fava beans and asparagus I’ve been seeing at the grocery store, and my consumption of spring greens hasn’t slowed down at all since. This salad is mostly vegetables, dressed lightly with lemon, herbs, and salt. You can add as much or as little couscous as you want – just a cup or two and you’ll have something akin to a tabbouleh; the full amount listed below and it will be more like a pasta salad. The ingredients are good in almost any ratio, so feel free to interpret the recipe loosely and incorporate whatever spring greens are currently inspiring you.
Herb-Flecked Spring Couscous
- 1 1/2 c. chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 1/2 c. couscous
- 2 TBS basil olive oil or regular olive oil
- sea salt to taste
- 2 c. shelled fresh fava beans (from about 2 lbs. in their pods)
- 1 c. shelled fresh English peas
- 1 c. very thinly sliced asparagus rounds, from about 1/3 lb. asparagus stalks
- 1/3 c. finely minced fresh basil leaves
- 1/3 c. finely minced fresh parsley leaves
- 1/3 c. finely minced fresh chives
- juice from 1 lemon
- Bring chicken stock to a boil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. As soon as it reaches a boil, add the couscous, cover with a lid, and remove from the heat. Let stand, covered, for 10 minutes, then remove the lid and fluff the couscous with a fork. Add the basil olive oil and stir to coat the couscous, then season to taste with sea salt.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the shelled fava beans and the peas, and blanch until peas are bright green, about 3-4 minutes. Drain and rinse the beans and peas in cold water, then drain again. Remove the skin from the fava beans by slitting one end with your thumb and popping the bright green bean out by squeezing the other end. Roughly chop the fava beans, and place in a large bowl with the peas.
- Add the asparagus rounds, the basil, the parsley, the chives, and the lemon juice to the bowl with the favas and peas. Stir to mix. Add the couscous to the greens and stir to coat. Season to taste with sea salt. Serve room temperature or chilled.