Israeli Couscous Salad with Lemon, Fennel and Basil from Exotic Table (Adams Media), from What’s Cooking? April 2014.
Couscous is one of those blank-slate ingredients that absorb flavors incredibly well. I love to use it in a salad with lemon and raw, shaved fennel. The combination, along with some torn basil, is fresh and light, great alongside a simple piece of fish or grilled chicken.
I personally prefer the texture of Israeli couscous to the traditional kind, but you could really use either. A few ratios to pay attention to here: Israeli couscous requires 1½ cups of liquid for every cup of the raw couscous. In turn, 1 cup of raw Israeli couscous triples to about 3 cups cooked.
3 cups vegetable stock or water
2 cups raw Israeli couscous
2–3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 fennel bulb, shaved thin, fronds reserved
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon lemon zest
juice of ½ to 1 lemon
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
small handful of basil, hand-torn
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Bring the vegetable stock or water up to a boil over high heat. Season with salt, add the couscous, cover, and bring back up to a boil. When it comes up to a strong boil, remove from the heat and let sit covered 8 to 10 minutes, until the couscous has absorbed all of the water. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and fluff with a fork. Cool completely.
Add the shaved fennel along with 2 tablespoons of chopped fennel fronds, the minced shallot, lemon zest, lemon juice, sherry vinegar and torn basil. Drizzle a bit of extra-virgin olive oil on top and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix, taste and adjust seasoning, including the lemon juice. Chill before serving.