Monday, August 15, 2016

A Different Kind of Pasta Salad

You've just got to have fun with your sides and salads during the summer. There's so much great produce out there during the summer. You have to take advantage of it!

Pear Couscous Salad with Cherries and Arugula



1 cup water
2/3 cup orange juice
1 1/3 cup (1/2 pound) whole wheat or white pearl couscous


1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2/3 cup dried cherries
2 stalks celery, finely diced
3 ounces baby arugula, finely chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted (we used slivered almonds)
3 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces young Gouda or sharp white cheddar


Put the water and the orange juice in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in the whole wheat couscous, cover the pan, and turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes. Prepare a large baking sheet by covering it with parchment paper. When the couscous is done (it will have absorbed all the liquid), spread it out on the baking sheet to cool.

Whisk together the orange juice, olive oil, and red wine vinegar in a glass measuring cup. Add the dried cherries and microwave for 2 minutes on high (or bring the mixture to a light simmer in a saucepan on the stove, then stir in the cherries and turn off the heat). Let the cherries stand in the liquid for at least five minutes, or until they are glossy, plump, and soft. Drain off the liquid into another cup and reserve it.

When the couscous is lukewarm to the touch, pick up the parchment paper and slide the couscous off the paper into a large mixing bowl. Take the reserved poaching liquid drained from the cherries, and whisk vigorously until it is combined and emulsified. Stir this into the couscous.

Stir in the steeped cherries, minced celery, arugula, toasted walnuts, and sliced shallots. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed. Use a sharp vegetable peeler to create thin shavings of the cheese. Toss this with the salad. Serve warm, or at room temperature.

Source: The Kitchn. You can find it here.

Notes: Many people wouldn't eat this because they thought we put raisins in it (and many people in our family are picky about raisins), but they were really dried cherries, and they were fantastic in this salad.

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