Thursday, January 24, 2013

Grilled Fennel-Couscous Salad

It's freezing outside, but don't let that stop you from grilling veggies - just grill them on a stovetop grill pan instead.  The unexpected addition of fennel is a nice way to perk up couscous.

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 (8-ounce) fennel bulb
  • 1/4 cup chopped dry-roasted cashews
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 navel orange
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 and 1/2 cups uncooked couscous
1. Heat a grill pan coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat.  Cut the fennel bulb in half and add to the pan; cook for 3 minutes on each side, until just crisp-tender.

2. Let cool for 5 minutes, then cut the fennel into 1/2-inch cubes.  Peel the orange and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.  Combine the fennel and orange in a bowl with the cashews, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, cumin, and black pepper.

Your kitchen will smell like Morocco as soon as you stir!

3. Meanwhile, bring the water to a boil in a saucepan, and gradually add the couscous.  Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes; fluff with a fork.

4. Combine the couscous and the fennel mixture, tossing well. Let cool to room temperature before serving, or make in advance and serve chilled.

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (1 cup), Calories 360 

Tasting Notes:
Simple and understated but just lovely - a bit like something you'd eat at a spa, with just-tender-enough fennel, juicy oranges, and a hint of olive oil. The roasted cashews were the best part, and this salad would no doubt be good with pistachios too. To play up that factor, consider using a nut oil instead of the olive oil. My preference was for the salad at room temperature, rather than chilled.


Vegan extra:
Speaking of oranges, I have finally found a company that makes vegan perfume, neither containing any animal products nor tested on animals: Pacifica. My favorite of their scents is the Tuscan blood orange, but their perfumes (and lotions and candles) come in other beguiling choices like Mediterranean Fig and Persian Rose.

Perhaps the best part about this roll-on perfume is that it slips easily into your purse or handbag, making it the perfect perfume for on-the-go application:

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