the food: Springtime Couscous Salad
the song: "Good Day Sunshine" The Beatles
I realize Easter weekend is just a distant memory, but I have a good recipe to share with you, so I'm going to write about it anyway. We don't celebrate Easter, but spring is a different story. Give me the chance, and I'll throw spring a party. The weather is beautiful, the days are long and just hot enough, everything is green and pretty. Easter weekend is really just a long weekend to celebrate the spring. We drove down to Fredericksburg on Good Friday to meet my dad and step mom for dinner. At Fredericksburg Brewery, where we sipped and ate bottle caps (fried jalapeno slices) I overheard the guy behind me saying "Good Friday? More like Super Awesome Friday!" I have to agree.
Super Awesome Friday. Better than work.
Sunday a good friend of ours that attended our Thanksgiving feast (he made the turkey!) invited us over for Easter dinner with his folks. I don't like showing up anywhere empty handed, so I looked in the fridge and discovered the makings for this beautiful couscous salad. The dinner was perfect for a warm spring evening...crackers and cheese, roasted root vegetables, green salad with a light vinaigrette, bread, and this couscous. I didn't eat the lamb, but I hear the salad complimented it pretty nicely.
This was just my kind of salad. It came together very quickly and was made completely with things I already had. I made it in about 15 minutes, covered it, and had several hours to work in the garden until the dinner. There isn't really a recipe for this, but I'll write out the way I made it, because the flavors were really wonderful. Feel free to experiment with leftover vegetables you might have in your fridge or garden bounty that needs to be used up. Either way, springtime is the best time and this salad is a nice way to celebrate it.
Springtime Couscous Salad
serves about 6 as a side dish
1 cup couscous
1/2 pound asparagus spears
1/2 cup oil-packed sun dried tomatoes,* roughly chopped
1 cup spinach, torn into bite size pieces (or use baby spinach)
large handful fresh herbs, chopped (the key word is fresh- I used oregano, but there are many possibilities)
1/2 cup feta cheese
drizzle good olive oil
First, remove the tough part of the asparagus stem at the bottom. I like to prepare my asparagus by finding the natural break with my hands. Slice the remaining spears into bite-sized pieces at a bias. Steam for about 5 minutes, until asparagus is just tender. Set aside.
Bring 2 cups of water, broth, or juice to a boil. Stir in 1 cup couscous, throw the raw spinach on top, and cover. Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove lid and fluff with fork.
In a large bowl, combine couscous and spinach with marinated tomatoes, asparagus, feta cheese, and chopped herbs. Finish with a generous drizzle of olive oil**. Season with salt and pepper, cover and allow to cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
*I used marinated tomatoes from Central Market. If you have easy access to sun dried tomatoes in oil or marinated tomatoes, I recommend using them, along with a little bit of the oil. Fresh would be good, too.
**I used Texas Olive Ranch roasted garlic olive oil. Yummmmm. Not only do they have amazing labels, but the olive oil is darn good, too.