Interesting how one thought leads to another. How one experience brings a memory into clear focus. A recent cooking class that included couscous was a reminder of a delightful dish from the Jerusalem cookbook. I hadn’t made it for about four years, but that memory jog put it on the menu for tonight.
Ingredients: (adapted from the original recipe, “Couscous with Tomato and Onion”)
3 TBS olive oil
1 C onions (finely chopped)
1 TBS tomato paste
1/2 tsp sugar
28 oz. can of whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 C regular couscous (not Israeli or pearl couscous)
1 C chicken stock (boiling hot)
2 TBS butter
salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Boil a cup of stock in the microwave and pour it over a cup of couscous in a heat proof bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let steam for 10 minutes. At that point, fluff it with a fork and set it aside.
2. Using a non-stick pan, sauté the onion in 2 TBS of olive oil until soft. Add the tomato paste and sugar. Cook for about a minute. Add the chopped tomatoes. Season with some salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook until the flavors meld. About 3 minutes.
3. Pour the tomato mixture over the couscous and mix well.
4. Wipe out the pan. Melt the butter in the remaining tablespoon of oil. Put the couscous mixture into the pan. Pat it down with the back of a spoon to make a flat pancake that fills the sauté pan.
5. Cover and let cook over very low heat for about 12 minutes or until the edges are light brown and crispy.
6. Loosen the sides with a spatula. Put a plate over the top of the pan and invert it, so the crispy bottom ends up on top.
7. This can be served warm or at room temperature, making it an excellent dish for a buffet.
The original recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem is available online. The book has many wonderful recipes and is worth owning.