We all deserve a “no brainer, sure thing” from time to time and today is your time!
Summer should be easy livin’. Longs days at the beach with your toes in the sand followed by long nights sitting in a front porch rocking chair, star -gazing. Or maybe its long hikes through sun flooded mountain woods and a long lingering campfire for your summer pleasure. City Dweller? How about fabulous rooftop garden barbecues, watching the sun bid adieu to each building it passes washing it in its lingering golden light and is then replaced by a blanket of stars to guide you home. No matter how you define the perfect summer day, I think we can all agree that we want our dinner to be just as easy going as that day. Well, I am here to give you a sure thing!
This summer “salad” is a total meal in one lovely serving bowl. Yes, it must be lovely and if I had my way I would go so far as to demand that it be a footed clear glass serving bowl. This Summer salad if full proof and not only is it insanely easy to make, it brings in wild accolades. You can thank me later.
I must be honest and say that this recipe is not mine, originally. I certainly have put my spin on it with a few ingredient changes but – no, not mine. Hey, that is part of the easy summer livin’ part – I didn’t have to dream this one up. I got the recipe from the “Summer” cookbook by Delia Smith, that well-known English icon of the kitchen. I only have a few of her books, but I like her style overall. She could certainly, in my humble opinion, spice things up a bit more but I did mention that she was English, right? (Don’t be caddy Heather).
The salad has middle eastern elements, which I totally love, yet is very light, fresh and clean. Its perfect perfect for barbecues, pool parties, ladies lunch, a simple supper or a great addition to a block party get together. Yeah, get on with the recipe already will ya.
- 2 Cups CousCous
- 2 Cups Water
- 2 Carrots
- 1 Smallish Eggplant
- 1 Large Red Onion
- 1 Red Bell Pepper
- 1 Yellow Bell Pepper
- 1-2 Zucchini or Squash, or one of each even
- 2 Cups Fresh Salad Greens – I use Arugula to add a little peppery flavor
- 2 Ripe Tomatoes, No plums, you want juicy toms.
- 1/2 Cup Sun Dried Tomatoes, hydrated and soaked in oil 😉
- 1 tablespoon Vinegar (your pick, I like either Balsamic, Red Wine or Champagne)
- 1 Tsp. Dijon Mustard
- 1 Cup Feta or Goat Cheese, crumbled
Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper, but of course.
Put dry couscous in your footed glass bowl.
Chop all the vegetables, except the tomatoes, into bite size chunks and put them in a roasting dish. Leave the chopped red onion out for now. Toss them with a few good glugs of olive oil, add a few teaspoons each of salt and pepper (the good stuff) and then roast in a 475 oven for 20-25 minutes until they are soft and cooked through. Not mushy! Add the onions in for the last 10 minutes, they cook fast.
While the veggies are roasting (and you can use any veggies you want to roast if you don’t like my choices. Go for a variety of colors though) chop the tomatoes very finely and toss into a mixing bowl. Chop the sun dried tomatoes very finely and add to bowl, add vinegar, add mustard, S&P and give it a stir. It’s consistency is like a chunky dressing.
When veggies are done roasting, boil two cups of water. Pour the boiling water over the couscous, stir and cover for 4-5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork. Sprinkle cheese across the couscous. Layer the roasted veggies over the cheese. Toss the greens with the tomato dressing and layer on top of the roasted veggies. VOILA! Done & Dusted.
Its a visual delight with the layers (’cause you used your clear serving bowl), its colorful and best of all its damn good. Second best of all, its even better the next day.
PS. Julie & Julia is out tomorrow! Go check it out. I would say read the book first, if you haven’t already, but could be a bit late for that unless you are a professional insomniac.