This recipe comes from a local friend, Dawn DiLorenzo, who made this just about every week when she and her partner ran The Market across the street. I think my husband had it for lunch just about every day! I finally begged her for the recipe last fall following the unfortunate closure of The Market so that I could continue making it. Dawn was so gracious to pass it along to me (thank you Dawn) as it’s a recipe that’s been in her family for many, many years.
I’ve only tweaked it slightly for personal taste (I had to add basil – I couldn’t help myself) – and yes, this recipe has been up on my blog before but I think it needed a new photo to justify just how incredibly delicious it is! It’s also a perfect dish to feed a crowd or to bring to a neighborhood gathering. And lastly, it keeps well in the fridge and can be easily brightened with a bit of lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil.
As I was taking the “new” photos yesterday, I thought about my wonderful neighbor again and how she loved taking home a few of my Pepper Jack Stuffed Poblanos that I had recently styled and photographed in the *exquisite* (haha) space just outside of my garage. I ran upstairs and called her and asked her to come out with a medium container. She was so surprised and delighted! She and her husband enjoyed this last night with crab cakes and sliced tomatoes and she called today to say how they loved it and to also request the recipe.
What is Israeli couscous? It’s different from the North African couscous that most of us are familiar with as it’s twice as big and resembles pasta. It’s basically wheat and semolina flour that has been toasted and as a result has a nutty texture and a sturdy presence that holds up well to sauces. Love it, love it, love it. I really need to develop a soup recipe using Israeli couscous…. Where to buy? I buy the Rice Select Brand that I can get at Whole Foods. You can also order it online at Amazon. Local supermarkets will probably carry a brand in the kosher foods section or gourmet section. Thank you again Dawn! Enjoy this dish – it seriously is GOOD!!
the market israeli couscous
- 1 clove garlic, pressed
- 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil.
Mix all of the above ingredients in a small bowl, season with a bit of coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, and set aside.
- 2 cups Israeli couscous
- 2 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth*
Bring the broth to a boil in a medium saucepan, add couscous, stir, and cover. Reduce the heat to low and simmer according to the package directions (about 10 minutes) at which time the broth should be absorbed into the couscous. Transfer to a large bowl, season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. (Tip: Add a little bit of the vinaigrette above to keep the couscous from sticking.) Let the couscous cool for at least 45 minutes (even in the refrigerator if you are short on time).
- 2 cups 1/2-inch cuts of asparagus spears (about 1 pound) that have been blanched in boiling water for 3 minutes and cooled
- 2 cups 1/2-inch diced seedless cucumber (about 2 1/2 cucumbers)
- 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
- 2-3 large green onions, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped fine in a chiffonade style (like little ribbons)
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped mint
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely crumbled feta cheese (about 7 ounces)
- Additional kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Mix the above ingredients together and add the vinaigrette. Stir into the couscous, and mix well to combine. * For a vegetarian dish, please feel free to omit the chicken broth and use vegetable broth instead.