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Israeli Couscous Salad with Roasted Tomatoes and Olives

December 18, 2008

I made this salad today for my company potluck- it tastes amazing, so we’ll see if it’s a hit.  This is a recipe direct from Smitten Kitchen, and features Israeli couscous, which is a large-sized couscous, roasted tomatoes, herbs, kalamata olives and a roasted tomato and garlic vinaigrette.  It’s much more flavorful that you’d think based on a first glance.  It would be a great summer salad, and great served alongside grilled meat or fish.  Serves 6

Ingredients:

Couscous:

2 3/4 c chicken or vegetable broth

2 1/4 c Israeli couscous or other large pearl couscous (the farmer’s market calls it French toasted couscous)

1 T olive oil

1/3 c chopped fresh parsley

1/4 c chopped fresh mint

1 t chopped fresh thyme

1/2 c chopped kalamata olives

1/2 c crumbled feta, optional

Dressing:

2 pints (1 1/2 lbs) cherry tomatoes, halved through the stem side

3 cloves garlic, left unpeeled

1/4 c olive oil

1/4 c warm water

1 t lemon juice

1 t sea salt

1/4 t ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Place garlic and tomatoes, cut side up, on a baking sheet.  Bake for 1 hour or until tomatoes begin to shrivel slightly and brown slightly at the edges.  Let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for 30 minutes. (Don’t crank up the heat to roast these in less time.  The taste will be completely different and they will lose their deep, sweet flavor)

Bring broth to a boil in a saucepan and add couscous.  Let simmer, uncovered, for 6 minutes.  Remove pan from heat, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, spread couscous in an even layer on a baking sheet and let cool 15 minutes.

Make the dressing: to a blender, add the roasted, peeled cloves of garlic, 1/4 c olive oil, water, lemon juice, salt and pepper and 1/2 c of the roasted tomatoes.  Puree until thoroughly blended.

To the cooled couscous, add the olives, chopped fresh herbs, 1 T olive oil and the whole roasted tomatoes and stir until combined.  Drizzle with the dressing and stir until combined, then sprinkle with optional feta.  Serve immediately.

Make ahead: you can make the components 1 day ahead- make the couscous  mixture, dressing and tomatoes and keep separate until ready to serve.  Bring components to room temperature and combine just before serving.

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