Herb and Pistachio Couscous
The first time I made this recipe from Christopher Kimball's new cookbook, Milk Street: The New Home Cooking, I thought it was so terrific I made it again three days later. It's more a salad than a conventional couscous, but the combination of ingredients is irresistable. Don't leave out the pistachios!
- Total Cooking Time: Start to Finish: 30 minutes.
- Servings: 6.
This recipe is from the authors of Christopher Kimball's Milk Street, The New Home Cooking, who provided this introduction:
"Couscous may be fast and convenient to prepare, but it’s also pretty dull. And the traditional method of infusing it with flavor — steaming it in a special pot over a flavorful liquid—just isn’t happening. We found a better way by undercooking — technically underhydrating — the couscous by preparing it with less water than typically called for. We then combine the couscous with a flavorful paste made from oil and pureed fresh herbs. The “thirsty” couscous absorbs tons of flavor as it finishes hydrating.
"Inspired by a recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi, we piled on the herbs — 2 cups each of cilantro and flat-leaf parsley plus another 2 cups of arugula. We also added currants as we doused the couscous with boiling water, giving them time to plump. Jalapenos brought a spicy kick; we used pickled peppers, which have more consistent heat and contributed welcome piquancy. Toasted pistachios and thinly sliced scallions added a finishing crunch. The couscous pairs well with most any meat, though it is particularly good with salmon.
"Don't use Israeli (also called pearl) couscous, which won't hydrate sufficiently in this recipe."
And a note from The City Cook: If you are like me and can't eat cilantro (it's reported that some 4 to 14 percent of us experience its taste as if it were soap) just substitute more parsley for the cilantro. The result is equally fabulous.
- 1 cup couscous
- 3 tablespoons dried currants
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 3⁄4 cup boiling water
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for serving
- 2 cups lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
- 2 cups lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped pickled jalapenos, plus 2 teaspoons brine
- 2 ounces baby arugula, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
- 1⁄2 cup shelled pistachios, toasted and chopped
- 2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
- In a large bowl, combine the couscous, currants, cumin and 1⁄4 teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Stir in the boiling water and 1 tablespoon of the oil, then cover and let sit for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the cilantro, parsley, the remaining 5 tablespoons of oil, the jalapeno brine and 1⁄4 teaspoon salt. Process until a smooth paste forms, about 1 minute, scraping down the bowl 2 or 3 times.
- Fluff the couscous with a fork, breaking up any large clumps, then stir in the herb paste until thoroughly combined. Fold in the jalapenos, arugula, pistachios and scallions, then let sit for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature, drizzled with oil.
From Christopher Kimball's Milk Street, The New Home Cooking. Little, Brown and Company, © 2017. Reprinted with permission.