Monday, June 09, 2008

Mediterranean Flair: Couscous Salad

Coucous Salad (01) by MeetaK

One of the things I do at my work is organize events. Parties, workshops, seminars, lunches etc. It's actually the part I love the most. My first major event I planned was the opening of a new unit at the university for which I am a part of - the Research Training Group. Especially created to develop the engineering faculty in their different fields. It's a big thing for the university as the group is being funded with a lot of money.

As you can imagine the party was to be on a large scale too. In the process of the last weeks I met a lovely French lady who I hired to cater for the gala dinner last Friday. She and her husband run a gorgeous new French Bistro here in Weimar. The minute I met her we hit it on so well. I knew from day one that I wanted her to cater for our event. We spent hours discussing our food obsessions and passions and what started out as work has turned into a lovely friendship. She is in her mid 50s and a charming lady full of zest and spirit.  The funny thing was we both complemented each other so well. She knew in an instance what I had in mind and I could relate to all her suggestions. Each tiny detail was perfectly organized - right down to the decorations. I wanted something summery in the Provence feeling, natural and not over the top, she brought a car load of lavender, lime and baskets of fresh fruit. The food was elegant but light the desserts spectacular.

One thing we both realized was our penchant for the Mediterranean kitchen. She said it's what she too grew up on as France is heavily influenced by the cuisine of Algeria and Morocco, so there too we found our similarities. We both agreed couscous in any way was something we could have anytime and everywhere. To mark our new found friendship she wanted to make a statement and suggested a couscous salad for the buffet. I agreed instantly.

Funny how things are - I was planning a couscous salad the minute Mansi announced the theme to this month's Monthly Mingle - Appetizers and Hors D'oeuvres. So I too am dedicating this to Elizabeth - a new friend!


Ingredients
Printable version of recipe here.

Coucous Salad (02) by MeetaK

 

200g couscous
1 cucumber, chopped
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (optional)
1 large ripe tomato, de-seeded and chopped
1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 large bunch mint, chopped
1 large bunch flat leaved parsley
Zest and juice of 1 lime
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Sprinkling of sumac
Salt and pepper


Method

Cook the couscous according to the instructions on the packet. Set aside to cool.

In the meantime toss the vegetables with the herbs and the garlic, if using, in a large bowl. Add the juice and zest of the lime and olive oil. Mix well to incorporate all the ingredients. Finally add the couscous and gently fold in. Salt and pepper to taste. Taste the salad and add more lime juice or oil according to your taste.

Set aside for at least half an hour in the fridge to cool and for all the flavors to infuse with each other. Serve with a good sprinkling of sumac and garlic pita bread or in a large bowl for your party buffet. 


Verdict

Coucous Salad (03) by MeetaK

Couscous in any way! I love it and the fact that it is one healthy grain is an added benefit. Making a salad like this for a party, a get-together or a barbecue is ideal because it's so easy to put together and can be made an evening in advance. A different type of salad that everyone will love. It can be varied in several ways. I often like adding some red lentils to the whole salad for a lovely texture, or crispy sautéed onions on top.

The gala dinner was a hit - the sad thing was the Professor (one of my two bosses) thanked me, for all the perfect organization and helping to make the opening such a success, in front of the big time guests attending the event - and I missed the speech because I was busy setting up the buffet! Thanks to Tom and several friends (who all work at the university) I was told many times what was said. I was in seventh heaven!

I would also like to send this entry to Siri of Siri's Corner who is hosting this months session of A Worldly Epicurean's Delight (A.W.E.D)created by the lovely Dhivya. This month's theme Middle Eastern Cuisine. How can I miss that!

More couscous ideas you might enjoy on WFLH:

Chickpea Tajine Coconut Couscous 01 framed
Chickpea Pumpkin Tajine With Coconut Couscous & Coconut Chutney
ArabianChicken03
Spicy Arabian Chicken with Couscous

I have almost 1000 posts in my reader that I need to catch up on, there are several mails I need to answer and I know I have a challenge to execute and plan! But folks you'll excuse me for just a bit longer - summer and soccer has gripped Europe and after Germany's win over Poland last night the party is on! I miss you all!



All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

18 comments :

  1. the salad looks great! and nice to know you made a new friend Meeta! its totally summer here, which means I have a tough time cooking all the delicacies and trying not to gain weight!!:)D

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  2. And I just bought the most fragrant bunch of mint. Perfect!

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  3. It must be a family trait, this organizing for other people's well-being! A couscous salad is on my posting list this week too so I don't dare to look at you recipe haha!

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  4. I love couscous salade.
    Love your version too. Have bookmarked it to try it out once.

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  5. Sounds like a wonderful new blooming friendship and a gorgeous event! The salad couldn't look more like cool summer fare! And so right you are Meeta, I can enjoy couscous any where any time!!

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  6. So lovely that you not only got to organize a great event, but that you got to make a new friend in the caterer as well; and to add to this list of greatness, you made a FABULOUS couscous salad!! :0)

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  7. I have all the ingredients needed so I might have to try this out soon! Well, we're having a slight tomato problem in the US, but I just ate a huge one last night. Oh well. Beautiful salad!

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  8. Hello Meeta,

    Ive been reading ur blog for quite a while now, but today I feel like I have to leave a comment! Just yesterday I had couscous and was wondering if I could find a good idea to "spice it up" a little bit.Then I randomly checked out ur page for news, and what is it? Couscous! Great coincidence! Anyway, I really do like ur blog, especially as I was born in Erfurt and my grandparents used to live in Weimar, so Im glad u like living there! Cheers, Katharina

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  9. What gorgeous colors. I make such boring couscous compared to this.

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  10. Beautifully photographed, as always. The salad looks very, very tasty.

    j

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  11. That couscous salad look nice an fresh and tasty! Great photos!

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  12. Fresh mint is definitely my favorite herb. I love the look of this salad and although it is winter here, I think it will be perfect for grilled steak!

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  13. That looks like a fantastic salad, and I love mint!

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  14. I love couscous but cannot seem to get the rest of the family to cooperate with me. Sometimes I make it anyways, a smaller amount, just for me.

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  15. Nice twist on a traditional tabbouli salad, which is one of my summer favorites. I have a ton of mint coming up in the garden, so I'm all set to make this.

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  16. This looks wonderful. I also love the use of mint--I keep seeing it used in creative, savory applications and I hardly ever do. I get so stuck on it as a dessert thing. Also, I'm not sure if I'd missed it or if you just put it up (or if I'm hopelessly forgetful), but I like the new logo on your site!

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  17. thank you so much for all your comments. this is a spectacular salad for any get together. I especially like it because you can always use other ingredients to go with it. Hope you all enjoy it!

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta