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RECIPE: GREEN ISRAELI COUSCOUS WITH RADICCHIO & PISTACHIO

This green Israeli couscous with radicchio and pistachios recipe by Guy Awford makes for a healthy summer salad packed with herby freshness…

I love Middle Eastern salads. Packed full of herbs and citrus fruits they are fresh and vibrant. Many recipes call for the addition of bulgur or torn pitta to soak up the juices and bulk up the dish, but for an interesting variation you could try Israeli couscous, or ptitim.

Israeli couscous has small, round, pasta-like granules made from semolina and wheat flour. Twice as big as North African couscous it is toasted rather than dried, giving it a nutty flavour. After cooking it swells up, and has a dense, bouncy texture. It doesn’t have a strong flavour of its own, so it’s perfect for absorbing other flavours.

Israeli couscous can be cooked like a risotto; frying the granules a little at the start to emphasise their nutty qualities, then adding the hot liquid. At Hand Made Food in Blackheath we use it to make a healthy summer salad, packed full of fresh herby flavours, lightly spiced and freshened up with a zing of lime. It’s the perfect accompaniment for grilled lamb or chicken. If you want it as a main course, adding some feta or grilled asparagus will make it more substantial.

Green Israeli couscous with radicchio and pistachios

  • Prep Time 30
  • Cook Time 15
  • Serves 8

Ingredients

500g Israeli couscous
500ml water
1 onion, finely chopped
A teaspoon ground coriander
Olive oil
A small handful each of parsley, mint and coriander, washed and stalks removed
1 clove garlic
A bunch of spring onions, washed and finely sliced
2 handfuls of baby spinach, finely sliced
2 limes, zest and juice
1 red chili, deseeded & chopped
½ a cup of shelled unsalted pistachios, toasted
1 radicchio, washed and dried
Chop the herbs and blitz half of them with the garlic and 100ml of olive oil to make a vibrant green paste.
Cook the onion, without colouring, in olive oil over a low heat until soft. Add the ground coriander and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the couscous and cook with the spiced onions for a few minutes.
Bring the water to the boil, add to the couscous and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t catch on the bottom.
Remove from the heat, cover with a tight fitting lid and leave for 10 minutes for the grains to soak up the water and swell.
Tip the couscous into a large bowl and gently separate the grains with a fork.
Allow to cool then stir in the herb paste, lime juice and zest.
Mix in the remaining chopped herbs, the spring onion and the spinach.
Season to taste, adding more lime juice if necessary.
Line a large bowl with radicchio leaves and fill with the herby couscous.
Sprinkle over the pistachio and the chilli.

By Guy Awford

Guy Awford is chef patron of theguildfordarms.co.uk, insiderestaurant.co.uk and handmadefood.com

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