23 September 2008

Couscous, Shopska Style

I know my posts have been few and far between in the past few weeks. I wish I could tell you that I have been cooking up a storm and have a backlog of recipes to post but that's sadly not the case. Between the start of the semester and everything else that has been going on I haven't been in the kitchen that much. Last night was an exception, more because I needed to clean out the fridge than any noble nourishment purpose. Read More!

I had some peppers, half a cucumber, small tomato and feta cheese- all the fixing for a Shopska salad (a kind of Balkan vegetable salad). Since this would be our dinner I decided to make turn the Shopska into a pasta salad by mixing it with the Israeli couscous I picked up on the weekend. The whole dinner took about 20 minutes to put together. While the water boils and the couscous cooks you can chop the veggies, then everything gets tossed together with olive oil, red wine vinegar and feta cheese. That's it. Despite the simplicity the salad is light, fresh and delicious. We had it for dinner, but it would be a great side dish to grilled chicken or fish.

I'm entering this recipe in the Monthly Mingle, which this month is Sensational Sides, hosted by Ruth at Kitchen Experiments in place of Meeta, who usually hosts.

Couscous, Shopka Style
Serves 2 for dinner, for as a side dish

1 C. Israeli style couscous
1 1/3 C. water, or a mix of water and broth (I did 1 C. water, 1/2 C. chicken broth)
1/3 white onion, chopped
1 C. cucumber, seeded and chopped
1 small tomato, diced
1 bell pepper, or two small peppers, diced (any color you like, though orange would be prettiest)
2 T. red wine vinegar
1 T. olive oil
3 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

- Set the onion in a bowl full of cold water and swish around then leave till you are ready to assemble the salad. This will help make it a bit less pungent.

- Bring the water (and broth) to a boil in a medium saucepan, stir in couscous and reduce to a simmer, cook for 8-10 minutes or until couscous is tender.* If you notice that you pot has run dry and a few more tablespoons of water.

- While the water boils, chop up the veggies. When the couscous is cooked, stir in the vegetables, oil and vinegar and a few grates of pepper and then the feta cheese. Taste for seasonings and serve immediately.

The salad keeps well in the fridge for a day or two, just fluff with a fork before eating.

*If you use straight water to cook the couscous, add a good pinch of salt to it with the pasta.


Anonymous said...

I've gotten to like couscous after discovering it about a year ago. I'll have to try this recipe. Thanks!

kat said...

looks like a tasty little salad there

Dee said...

I should do more with my couscous, so I really appreciate the recipe. What's Israeli couscous? I'm not sure where mine's from, and I'm wodering if it will make a difference.

Jen said...

The main difference between Israeli style couscous and North African style is the size. Israeli couscous is large, almost the size of peas where North African is tiny, like little grains. Israeli style is more like pasta and takes a bit longer to cook. You could make this salad with either kind, just make sure to follow the package directions for cooking the couscous if you use the smaller kind. Do let me know if you end up making it--

Meeta said...

i've often had schopska salad but a great idea with couscous. great entry!

Katerina said...

I have still never made this Israeli cous cous but I really like it, I didn't know it was this easy to cook!

Sophie said...

Now here's a side dish I need to make more often! It looks delicious, I especially like the colors that the veggies bring. I would love to feature your recipe on our blog and the Demy, the first and only digital recipe reader. Thanks so much! Please email sophiekiblogger@gmail.com if you're interested.

Ruth E said...

This looks delicious!!!! A great entry to the mingle, thank you!