Pearl Couscous with Cilantro, Corn & Avocado
Now that I’ve returned to this little blog, it’s time to play catch-up. Despite my complete failure to post anything for almost a year, I actually was still cooking over here (although, I must admit, not with quite as much gusto or frequency as before—I blame work and morning sickness).
The result is that there are a few dishes that—over the course of the past year—have become staples around here, but that I’ve never shared with you all. Time to remedy that!
First up is this incredibly simple, delicious couscous. It became a go-to weeknight meal for us over the past few months. It’s somewhat inspired by another favorite at this house, but even though it shares a few of the same ingredients, the result is completely different (but equally delicious).
This recipe came together fortuitously one night, when I was trying to figure out what on earth to make with some extra corn, limes, and avocado that we happened to have on hand, plus the items in our pantry. Sometimes this can be the best inspiration…
So I cooked up some couscous, made a simple cilantro-lime-and-pepper sauce, toasted some cashews, sautéed the corn, tossed it all together, topped it with avocado and lime, and—voila!—we somehow ended up with something really delicious that we now make all the time. I love when that happens.
PEARL COUSCOUS WITH CILANTRO, CORN & AVOCADO
Serves 4 generously as an entrée
1 bunch of cilantro, tough stems removed (reserve a few leaves for garnish)
1 serrano pepper
4 ears of corn (preferably white corn), kernels removed
2 avocados, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup raw cashews
3 cups pearl couscous (a.k.a. Israeli couscous)
4 cups water
salt & pepper
* If there isn’t any fresh corn available, frozen will work as well.
Cook the couscous. Bring 4 cups of lightly salted water to boil in pot. Add the couscous, along with a splash of olive oil, and simmer uncovered for 6 minutes. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand for 10 minutes. If you’re not going to mix the cooked couscous with the sauce soon after it’s done cooking, spread the couscous on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer to cool; this will prevent the couscous from sticking together while it cools.
Meanwhile, in a large pan, toast the cashews over medium heat, until golden. Remove from heat, and set aside to cool. Once cool, roughly chop and set aside.
Toss the diced avocado in a small bowl with the juice from one lime, and with some salt and pepper (to taste).
Make the sauce while the couscous is cooking and the cashews are toasting: while the motor’s running, toss the serrano pepper into the food processor to chop. Turn the food processor off, and add the cilantro and the juice from one lime. Process until everything is chopped and combined (scraping down the sides as needed). With the food processor running, slowing add about 1/4 cup good quality olive oil, and process until smooth (add more olive oil if needed). Season with salt and pepper (to taste).