Sunday, April 04, 2010

Apple of My Eye

This month's dinner club soiree was a sweet and savory twist on a classic ingredient - the apple. Apples and apple blossoms are ideal symbols of love, youth, beauty and happiness. Indeed the night was filled with all of those elements as well as some amazing dishes and always good company.  The dish I prepared was a fun twist on the traditional couscous with a vinaigrette dressing.  It's a fun, easy, and incredibly tasty dish.  

Savory Israeli Couscous with Apples, Cranberries and Herbs recipe:

* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 3 cups Israeli couscous (pearl-sized)
* 4 1/2 cups chicken broth
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
* 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
* 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
* 1 large Granny Smith Apple, diced
* 1 cup dried cranberries
* 3 slices of bacon
* 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted


* 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
* 2 tablespoons maple syrup
* 1 tablespoon kosher salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1/4 cup olive oil


First, chop up bacon slices and cook. Once done, strain and set aside for later.

For the couscous: In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil and a tablespoon of the bacon grease on medium-high heat. Add the couscous and cook, stirring occasionally until slightly browned and aromatic, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated. Transfer the cooked couscous to a large bowl and set aside to cool. Add the parsley, rosemary, thyme, apple, dried cranberries, bacon pieces and almonds.

For the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until smooth. Pour the vinaigrette over the couscous and toss to coat evenly.

This couscous dish has a mild Mediterranean flair with sweetness from the apple and syrup, and complexity from the herbs. A great compliment to a pork or chicken entree, or with the yummy salad that Huma made for the Seven Deadly Sins dinner.

Bon Appetite!