Couscous – the food’s so nice they named it twice.

Couscous – what is it exactly? Is it a grain? Pasta? Weird puffy rice thing? Look no further, your question will be answered! Couscous is a coarsely ground pasta made from semolina (which is a type of wheat – not sickness from raw meat 😉 ). Just kidding – but historically there was a big long drawn out process to make couscous, but for this Israeli Couscous and Tomato Salad (via: Epicurious and Bon Appetit 2014), we will just stick with the instant kind.

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A fairly simple recipe – you will start by cooking your couscous which you can just follow the instructions found on the packaging. For this recipe, for every 1 cup of couscous, you will need 1.5 cups of water. Bring the water to a boil, add the couscous, and then lower the heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes. While the couscous is cooking, you will need to start to char your tomatoes and radicchio. The recipe calls for cherry tomatoes, but I just used one regular tomato cut into quarters.

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For your char, you want to drizzle your tomatoes and radicchio with some olive oil and salt and pepper to taste, and grill on high heat. Keep on the heat until the skins of the tomatoes have blackened and started to blister. While they are charring, start to thinly slice 1/4 of a red onion to fold into your salad later.

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These are what you want to see for your tomatoes. For your radicchio, make sure to try to char all sides of it. Once charred, you want to thinly slice up the radicchio and then I just diced up my blistered tomatoes. Once you have your tomatoes, radicchio, and red onion, fold into your cooked couscous. Top with fresh oregano and parsley (or the shaker kind if you can’t find fresh. I used the little shaker kind and it did not compromise the taste at all.), chopped almonds – toasted or untoasted. I chose to leave mine untoasted for time reasons. Finally, top with shaved parmesan, salt and pepper to taste, and you are ready to enjoy!

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I was pleasantly surprised with how easy this recipe was. The most labor intensive part was charring your vegetables, which you need to keep a close eye on to make sure they don’t burn too much. It has a nice warm flavor with a nice added crunch from the almonds. I am a huge fan of red onion so I enjoy the way they assert themselves against the charred vegetables. The char provides an extra complexity to the vegetables and spices them up a bit. Overall, really happy with how this turned out and definitely will add this to my recipe collection!

*Comment here for full recipe and directions

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