Thus I landed myself in hot water. When we got to cooking, the recipe said "cook couscous according to package directions."
Um. Hello, Google? Can you help?
So that is how I came to spend a couple of hours Saturday preparing couscous the traditional way. Soak, then drain the couscous. Spread them in a flat pan. Let them sit. Break up the clumps with your fingers. Drizzle the couscous into a steamer you've rigged up so that steam can only escape through the couscous. Steam uncovered for 20 minutes. REPEAT. And REPEAT again. Some people steam the couscous for as few as two times or up to five times. I did three.
If you have only ever made couscous from a box, this method will be a revelation for you. I confess I have never really liked couscous that much. It just seemed heavy and grainy. But this stuff was light and fluffy and perfect for the bean salad.
It wasn't all that hard, or even labor-intensive. Most of the time the couscous was soaking or steaming away without supervision. So I would say it's worth the effort, as long as you have a couple of hours when you're going to be around anyway.
To make the salad (which we doubled), you'll need:
- 10 oz. couscous (if you buy the packaged kind, the olive oil and garlic flavor is recommended)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice, or a combo thereof
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- dash of cayenne
- pepper and salt
- 1 cup chopped green onions (about 8 onions)
- 1 medium red bell pepper (1 1/4 cup chopped)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels (baby white is good), rinsed briefly to soften, then drained
- 2 15-oz. cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
If you refrigerate this salad, you may want to add another squeeze of citrus juice and some fresh cilantro the next day to perk it up again. But it's still quite yummy on day two, day three and day four. (Yes, we made too much of it!)