Friday, January 15, 2016

Chargrilled vegetables and couscous salad


We recently had a lunch invitation, and I needed to take a salad with me to go with our hosts herb crusted roast beef.   So are you thinking what I'm thinking - something robust with lots of flavour - well this is what I came up with - and from all the yum noises, and speedy returns for second helpings, it seemed like the delicious beef and this salad were just made for each other.

The inspiration for this dish came from a Karen Martini recipe; one of the many floating around my desk and kitchen on pieces of old, cut-out newspaper that are waiting for a rainy day to get sorted out.   I'm a big fan of using couscous as a base for salads - it just does the trick in soaking up yummy dressing without becoming gluggy; it's also very quick to cook,  and goes a long way!  There was an added bonus to this recipe - I love cooking outside on the barbecue and I could pre-cook the vegetables whilst enjoying the comings and goings in the garden and have a glass of something cold at the same time (cooks need to be rewarded - even if they have to do it themselves!)


Char-grilled Vegetables and Couscous Salad

A few each of the following:
Finger eggplants (aubergine)
Carrots
Zucchini 
1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
Some fresh garden herbs, chopped - I used tarragon and marjoram, but you could substitute with rosemary, oregano or thyme
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

1 1/2 cups couscous cooked to packet directions

Dressing
1 tbsp light tahini
Juice of 1 small lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 cup light olive oil
Freshly ground salt and pepper
Extra herbs for decoration

1.  Prepare vegetables by slicing lengthways, or into 3's if they are fat.  Carrots may be left whole if they are small.
2.  In a bowl prepare marinade of olive oil, garlic, herbs, salt & pepper
3.  Brush the sliced vegetables with the marinade - don't overdo the eggplant as it loves to soak up oil.
4.  Cook couscous and, 15 minutes before you need it - heat up barbecue.
5.  Place the vegetables on the grill part of the barbecue - mine has coals underneath, which is perfect because the veggies get that lovely chargrilled flavour and those desirable stripes!  Cook for about 3 minutes on each side.  This can be done well ahead of time but infinitely better if they are still a little warm when you are ready to eat.
6.  Tip cooked couscous into large bowl and whisk together dressing ingredients.
7.  Arrange vegetables on top of couscous and pour over dressing when ready to serve.
8.  Dress with some fresh zucchini or nasturtium flowers, if you have them, and some fresh tarragon.

"Never put off until tomorrow the zucchini you should pick today"

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