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- 1 large fresh fennel bulb, cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, coarsely ground in mortar with pestle or in spice mill
- 2 cups low-salt chicken broth
- 2 cups couscous (about 12 ounces)
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add fennel cubes and fennel seeds; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until fennel cubes are almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add broth and 1 cup water; bring to boil. Stir in couscous. Remove from heat; cover and let stand until liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Fluff with fork; stir in nuts and chives. Season with salt and pepper.
Israeli Couscous Salad with Spinach & Fennel
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Fresh flavors of the Mediterranean in one delicious, crunchy salad! Pearled couscous, caramelized fennel and onion, and wilted spinach. The perfect healthy side dish for any meal or BBQ. This couscous salad recipe is great for pleasing a crowd. One-swap for gluten free and vegan.
Pearled couscous is a great family-friendly side dish. It’s low maintenance for quick weeknight dinners. This healthier side dish is also an easy way to sneak in greens. Paired with fresh lemon juice, this couscous salad recipe is light, bright and zesty!
My favorite side dishes are those that combine carbs and vegetables! It makes for easier cleanup and more balanced meals.
I’m a huge fan of regular couscous. It’s a great carb side dish for when you’re bored of rice and quinoa. Pearled couscous is even more fun because it comes out as these tiny little, well, pearls!
Spice-Crusted Duck Breast with Fennel Couscous
1. Trim most of the fat from the duck breasts: Moulard ducks are particularly fatty, so you’ll want to cut off about half of the fat. Score the remaining fat (but not through to the meat) in a crisscross pattern.
2. Grind the coriander, fennel, cumin, peppercorns, and cloves together in a mortar and pestle. Transfer to a plate and press the duck breasts fat-side down into the spices.
3. Place the duck breasts in a large nonstick sauté pan. Slowly render them over medium heat, basting them occasionally with the rendered fat. Cook the breasts to 130°F (use an instant-read thermometer) for medium.
4. Allow the duck to rest for 5 to 7 minutes before slicing.
Directions for Couscous
1. Toast the pine nuts in a small dry frying pan over medium heat, tossing constantly, until golden. (If you don’t keep them moving they’ll end up looking like black-eyed peas.) The instant they’re done, transfer them onto a plate to cool.
2. Put the couscous in a medium-size heatproof bowl. Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a medium saucepan, add the oil, and season with salt and pepper. Pour the boiling stock over the couscous, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and let stand for 15 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork and mix in the pine nuts, tarragon, and lemon zest. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.
Directions for Fennel
1. Melt the butter in a large straight-sided sauté pan, swirling the pan until the butter is lightly browned. Sear both cut sides of the fennel. Add the orange zest and juice, the chicken stock, and the shallot, and season with salt and pepper. Simmer slowly, flipping the fennel wedges occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the fennel is tender (but not mushy) and the liquid has reduced to a nice glaze.
2. Combine the Campari, honey, orange juice, and butter in a sauté pan and bring to a boil cook until reduced by half. Drizzle over top of the duck once sliced.
Directions for White Turnips
Bring turnips to a boil in salted water and cook until tender. Strain and move to a medium sized bowl and toss in with a tablespoon of butter and garnish with chopped chives.
Israeli Couscous with Roasted Red Pepper
This easy, simple side comes together with minutes, and goes with almost anything. Pack it on family picnics, stash a container in your lunchbox, or serve it as a salad for Shabbat.
Make sure to use a great quality extra virgin olive oil. We love Colavita!
- , such as Colavita
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1½ cups whole wheat Israeli couscous
- 1 cup vegetable broth or water
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts, pistachios, or almonds
- 1 roasted red pepper, diced
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat a medium saucepan, lightly coated with evoo, over medium heat. Add onion and sweat for 7 minutes, until translucent and soft.
2. Add garlic and cook for 3 minutes more until soft.
3. Add couscous, stirring occasionally, until toasted and lightly browned.
4. Add broth and cover. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until couscous is slightly al dente.
5. Toss in pine nuts, red pepper, parsley, lemon zest and juice, salt, pepper, and additional evoo for richness and flavor. Serve hot or cold.
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Bucatini with golden raisins, fennel and pine nuts
I’m standing on a bluff overlooking the ocean, soaking up the afternoon sunshine. It’s that delicious warm part of a fall day when the chill of the morning fog has burned off but before it can creep back for the evening. Below me, the sea cracks against a rocky beach. Catalina looks like it’s about a block away. In my hand, I hold a brown paper bag full of just-picked fennel pods. Their warm perfume mingles with the fresh salt air. And all I can think about is dinner.
What about heating some of the seeds in olive oil and drizzling it over grilled fish? I think. About one-fourth to one-half teaspoon for a cup of oil would be just about right.
Or I could warm them in honey and spoon them over sliced pears and shards of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Same proportions will work.
Hey, what about mixing the seeds into little pork-and-veal meatballs and cooking them in tomato sauce? Or poaching the seeds with some fish in white wine so when the liquid cools it will form a beautifully perfumed jelly? Oh, I know, I’ll stew them quickly with anchovies, golden raisins and pine nuts to make a sauce for chewy bucatini pasta.
Give me another couple of hours to stand here and I’ll come up with more.
I know a spot where the wild fennel grows, and I’ll bet you do too. In fact, if you’ll open your eyes, it’s almost everywhere in Southern California. It’s found up and down the state, from San Diego to Humboldt County. A Mediterranean plant introduced by farmers, it propagates like mad and can be found wherever the climate is right. Though it seems to have adopted California as a second home, fennel is also found in states from Florida to Wisconsin.
Unlike the stuff you buy in the grocery stores, the bulb of the wild fennel is beside the point. It’s thin, stringy and mean. But in the spring, fennel sends up vibrant green sprays of fronds that are almost impossibly fragrant when stuffed into the belly of a baked fish, or when strewn across a hot bowl of boiled favas.
And at this time of year, even after the fronds have died back to nothing and the stalks have turned brown and crackly, fennel plants are laden with starbursts of tiny, explosively pungent seeds that add a green, anise-flavored exclamation point to all kinds of dishes.
These fennel seeds are different from the ones you buy in the grocery store. In the first place, they’re smaller. But they’re more tender too they pop rather than crunch.
And the flavor . the only thing to compare it to is those little spoonfuls of candied fennel seeds you get after dinner at Indian restaurants. They’re impossibly sweet with a mouth-filling anise flavor. (Remember this when cooking with them: a little bit goes a long way. In a pinch, you can use regular fennel seeds but the flavor won’t be as dramatic.)
When you’re cooking with wild fennel, you’ll almost invariably wind up with something that seems to be at least vaguely Italian. Though wild fennel is found all over Italy, oddly enough the seeds are little used. Italians seem to favor the green fronds, which show up in such things as pasta chi sardi, the signature Sicilian dish of spaghetti, fresh sardines and fresh fennel. There is also a pretty wonderful pesto made with wild fennel fronds.
The pollen of wild fennel, which must be gathered in the spring, is one of the ingredients of the moment in restaurant cooking. If you’re feeling really ambitious along about May or June, collect the flowers, then sort and screen them to separate the pollen. Do it once and you’ll understand the $25-per-ounce price.
Wild fennel grows almost everywhere. I remember walking through a particularly bleak part of downtown L.A. and catching a familiar scent. There, on a rocky patch of ground just above a parking lot was a magnificent stand of fennel. Of course, I wouldn’t advise collecting seeds from street fennel. You’ll want to gather them from plants that grow off the beaten track, away from chemical sprays, auto exhaust, walking dogs and other pollutants.
It may be my imagination, but I find the most fragrant fennel seems to grow within sight of the water. This place I was telling you about, for example -- I have to lean clear out over the fence to get to the seeds.
Though they may look unpromising, search for plants that have died back so that just the stalks remain. This isn’t hard we’re not talking about ankle-high dandelions here. Fully grown fennel stalks can be taller than a man. The seed clusters will be at the tops of the stalks, looking like connect-the-dots versions of tiny umbrellas (fennel belongs to the family Umbelliferae, so named because of this pattern).
Choose clusters with seeds that are fully formed but not yet hardened. Pull them off and stick the clusters in a paper bag. When you’ve got enough, take them home to sort. The back of a knife works well to separate the seeds from the pods and tiny stems. You can use them right away. Whatever’s left over (and there will be a bunch -- one trip is usually enough to supply a winter), set out to dry. They’ll keep forever in a tightly sealed container.
I’ve found it always pays to taste a couple of seeds before investing much effort in picking. Just last week, I was picking seeds in what seemed to be a long-vacant parking lot near the ocean. When I sampled a couple of seeds, my mouth went numb. Chemical herbicidal sprays are used in the oddest places.
Some misguided souls, it seems, are out to eradicate fennel. One of my favorite spring fennel stands is always gone by late summer -- mowed down as a fire hazard. In fact, fennel is officially classified as an invasive pest.
Actually, that’s about as good a definition as I can imagine of the magic of California -- a state where even the weeds are delicious.
Wild fennel can be found all over California. Here’s what to look for:
Fully grown plants have the best seeds. They’ll look almost dead, like a collection of tall, dried stalks. Choose plants that have grown away from well-traveled paths. Taste a few seeds before harvesting.
To collect seeds, pull whole clusters from the tops of the stalks. Separate seeds from stems and husks at home. Seeds can be used immediately or dried overnight in a cool oven. Stored in a jar, they’ll last forever.
Couscous with Fennel and Pine Nuts Recipe - Recipes
Adapted from recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi &amp Sami Tamimi
Serves 4 as a light meal with salad
1x large banana shallot, finely chopped
1x green chilli, finely chopped (remove seeds if you don't want the heat)
large handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
large handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
flaky sea salt &amp freshly ground black pepper
generous handful of pine nuts
2 tablespoons self raising flour
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2-3 tablespoons tahini paste
fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 190 degrees C (375 degrees F). Lightly grease a 20cm springform or loose-bottomed cake tin, and line the base with non-stick baking paper.
Put bulghur wheat in a small bowl, cover with boiling water, and set aside for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) in a large frying pan set over medium heat. Add chopped shallots, garlic, and chilli to the pan, and saute until softened. Add the lamb, and continue to saute until the lamb is lightly browned - about 5 minutes.
Stir in the baharat spice, coriander, parsley, about two-thirds of the pine nuts, and a generous pinch each of flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook for a couple more minutes. Remove from heat, taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
Strain any remaining liquid off the bulghur. Add the flour, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and a pinch each of salt and black pepper. Work with your hands till you have a mixture that is starting to hold together. Tip the wheat into the prepared cake tin, and press firmly over the base of the tin - I found it easiest to work with slightly wet hands. Spread the wheat out into an even layer which is quite firmly compacted. Spread the lamb mixture evenly over the top of the wheat, and again press down quite firmly.
Bake in preheated oven until the lamb is hot and well browned - about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare the tahini sauce. Mix tahini paste with the lemon juice and a pinch of flaky sea salt. Then add enough warm water (a little at a time), until you reach a sauce which is thick yet pourable.
Remove the kibbeh from the oven. Pour tahini sauce evenly over the top, sprinkle with the remaining pine nuts, and return to the oven until the tahini is set and lightly browned and the pine nuts are golden.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool to room temperature before removing from the tin. To serve, sprinkle over fresh parsley and sumac, and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's spiced lamb burger with herby couscous recipe
Tasty burgers and herby couscous make a delicious, substantial quick lunch or supper. Serves four.
For the burgers
500g minced lamb
1 small onion, peeled and grated
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 tsp ground sumac (optional)
½-1 tsp chilli flakes, depending on how hot you want them
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp flaky sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
For the minty yoghurt dressing
180g thick Greek yoghurt
1 tsp dried mint
1 good pinch salt
For the couscous
250g large-grain couscous
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1½ lemons
2 spring onions, white and pale green part only, trimmed and finely chopped
½ cucumber, cut into small dice
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small handful parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 small handful coriander
leaves, finely chopped
10-12 mint leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp ground sumac (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large bowl, and using your hands, mix together all the ingredients for the burgers. Set aside for 10 minutes, to let the flavours to develop, while you prepare the dressing and couscous.
In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the minty yoghurt.
Cook the couscous according to the instructions on the packet. While it's cooking, break off a walnut-sized piece of the burger mixture and fry it in a little oil until cooked. Taste and, if necessary, adjust the seasoning of the remaining raw burger mixture, then form into four 2cm-thick patties.
Warm the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Fry the burgers for four minutes on one side, flip over and cook for two to three minutes on the other side – this will cook them medium-rare.
Drain the couscous. Add the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and fluff with a fork. Stir in the remaining salad ingredients. Serve with the burgers and dollops of yoghurt.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's new book Veg: River Cottage Everyday, is published by Bloomsbury in October at £25. To pre-order a copy for £18 (including UK mainland p&p), go to theguardian.com/bookshop, or call 0330 333 6846.
Fiona Beckett's drink match Lamb and cabernet sauvignon is always a good combo, but when the meat is spiced up as it is here, it's best to choose a bold, blackcurranty style, such as Claro Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 from Chile's Central Valley (£5.48, Asda 13% abv), that will be able to stand up to the strong flavours.
|400ml (14fl oz)||vegetable stock|
|150g (5oz)||fresh asparagus spears|
|Freshly ground black pepper|
|Juice of 1 lemon|
|4 tbsp||olive oil|
|6||spring onions, chopped|
|150g (5oz)||mangetout peas, sliced on the diagonal|
|50g (2oz)||pine nuts, toasted|
|6 tbsp||chopped flat-leaf parsley|
|3 tbsp||chopped mint|
|Sprigs of mint and parsley|
Greek Aubergine & Tomato Stew
This aubergine stew has Greek influences with its use of preserved lemon, Feta cheese and toasted pine nuts. Slow cooking the stew means it is sticky, sweet and full of flavour. Recipe extracted from Vegetarian Slow Cooker: Over 70 delicious recipes for stress-free meals by Libby Silbermann (£12.99, Hamlyn)
- Heat two tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and celery, and fry over a medium heat for 5–8 minutes, until softened. Stir in the garlic and fry for three minutes, until softened, then transfer the mixture to the slow cooker.
- Heat the remaining oil in the pan, add the aubergine chunks, in batches, and cook over a medium heat for a few minutes on each side, until golden. Add to the slow cooker.
- Put the remaining ingredients into the slow cooker, season well with salt and pepper, then mix well. Cover with the lid and cook on low for six hours, until the sauce is thick and the aubergines are soft.
- Spoon into serving bowls, then sprinkle over the toasted pine nuts, feta, parsley and lemon zest. Serve with saffron rice, couscous or any other grain to soak up all the delicious juices, or with crusty bread and salad.
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Pearl couscous pasta salad with cashews and sultanas
Normally for a conventional couscous recipe, you would use couscous from a brightly coloured cardboard box or a cellophane packet. This is has been pre-steamed and dried. The package directions usually instruct you to add a little boiling water to make it ready to eat. It is important not to boil and whisk the couscous so that you don't end up with a starchy mush.
ΐ] This method can be done quickly and easily by placing the couscous in a bowl and pouring the boiling water or stock over the couscous (and possibly mixing in some butter or olive oil, then covering the bowl tightly. ΐ] The couscous swells and within a few minutes is ready to fluff with a fork and serve. Steaming and fluffing separates the couscous granules. ΐ]
You can also use a heat-proof colander inside a stock pot, lining it with a cheese cloth if the holes are too big.
You can also cook couscous like rice. First, you heat butter. Next you add rice and stir it in a pan to give it a good coating. Add stock, bring it to a boil, then reduce heat to lowest setting cover and cook until all the stock is absorbed.
Pre-steamed couscous takes less time to prepare than dried pasta or rice. Nobody would contemplate making the couscous from scratch out of ground wheat flour. Yet, there are other of couscous kinds available, such as barley couscous and Israeli couscous.
Traditional couscous requires a great deal of time as well as a special double boiler called a couscoussière (aka kiskis).
Since couscous, like most pastas, is not very flavorful it is usually made with flavored stocks, herbs and spices and served with vegetables, nuts or meat.
If you want to double or triple the amount of instant couscous you are making, steam it slowly instead of using the hot water method described on the package. ΐ]
In addition to being served as a side dish, couscous can be eaten as a porridge, in salads, or even in desserts. Add almonds, cinnamon and sugar or fruit to serve couscous as a dessert. Add peas and beans to couscous to make a salad. Combine couscous with buttermilk to make cold soup.
Lebanese couscous should be cooked by soaking it in water for 30 to 45 minutes.